Veneers

Dental veneers are custom-made shells that fit over the front surfaces of your teeth. They conceal cracks, chips, stains and other cosmetic imperfections. Veneers are one of the most common cosmetic dentistry treatments. There are several types of veneers available, depending on your specific goals.

Overview

A veneer can conceal a chipped tooth and make your smile more uniform.
Chipped tooth being covered by a veneer.

What are veneers?

Veneers are coverings that fit over the front surfaces of your teeth. Technicians use high-quality dental materials, like tooth-colored composite or porcelain, to create them.

Dental veneers are cosmetic in nature. They can conceal a wide range of aesthetic imperfections, including chips, cracks, gaps, tooth discoloration and more.

Advertisement

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

How do veneers work?

Veneers cover the front surfaces of your teeth to enhance your smile. They work by camouflaging cosmetic flaws.

Who needs dental veneers?

Anyone who wants to enhance the appearance of their smile can explore veneers. These dental restorations can camouflage:

  • Chipped or broken teeth.
  • Diastema (gaps or spaces in your smile).
  • Stains that don’t improve with teeth whitening.
  • Teeth that are too small.
  • Misshapen teeth.

It’s important to note that veneers are only an option if you’re free of extensive cavities and gum disease. If you have serious oral health issues, you should address those first before exploring cosmetic treatments.

Advertisement

Veneers vs crowns: What’s the difference?

A porcelain veneer only covers the front surface of a tooth to enhance its appearance. A dental crown, on the other hand, covers the entire tooth structure to add strength and protection.

Dental veneers are a cosmetic treatment. In other words, they improve your smile, but they don’t necessarily strengthen or repair your teeth. While dental crowns can also improve the appearance of your teeth, their main purpose is to restore teeth that are badly damaged by decay or trauma.

Are there different types of veneers?

Yes. There are a few different types of veneers, including composite veneers, porcelain veneers, no-prep veneers, and removable veneers.

Composite veneers

Composite veneers can conceal mild cosmetic issues. Your dentist uses a tooth-colored composite resin — the same material used for dental bonding — to achieve the desired results.

Porcelain veneers

Porcelain veneers can address a number of aesthetic imperfections. These restorations are custom-made to fit your dental anatomy. Before placement, your dentist must remove some enamel from your natural teeth. This roughens your teeth surfaces and helps your new veneers stay in place.

No-prep veneers

No-prep or minimal-prep veneers are a less invasive option. Like traditional porcelain veneers, no-prep veneers are custom-made for your smile. However, they require less enamel removal than traditional veneers.

It’s important to understand that no-prep veneers still require some enamel removal.

No-prep veneers aren’t right for everyone. Ask your dentist if you’re a candidate.

Removable veneers

Removable veneers — also called pop-on veneers or snap-on veneers — cover your natural teeth to hide imperfections. Like retainers, you can take removable veneers out anytime. Removable veneers can enhance your smile — but they can make it difficult to eat, and they could have a negative impact on your speech.

There isn’t a lot of research available on removable veneers because they’ve only been around for a few years. Ask your dentist if this option is safe for you.

Advertisement

Procedure Details

What happens before dental veneer placement?

During your initial appointment, your dentist will examine your teeth and gums to determine if you’re eligible for veneers. If you’re a candidate, they’ll prepare your teeth by removing small amounts of enamel. Next, they’ll take impressions of your teeth. A dental lab technician will use these impressions to make your custom veneers. (If you choose composite veneers, dental impressions aren’t needed.)

It can take a few weeks for the dental lab to complete your veneers. If necessary, your dentist can place temporary veneers in the meantime. Once the technician finishes your veneers, the lab will ship them to your dentist’s office.

What happens during veneer placement?

During a second office visit, your dentist will check the shape, color and fit of your veneers, then permanently bond them into place using dental cement. Finally, they’ll check your bite and make any necessary adjustments.

If you want to change something about your veneers, like the shape or color, let your dentist know. They’ll work with you and the dental laboratory to ensure that your results are satisfactory.

There’s no downtime following veneer placement. People who receive dental veneers can return to normal activities the same day. You can also eat or drink immediately after your appointment, as long as the anesthesia has worn off.

Do dental veneers require special care?

Brushing, flossing and visiting your dentist regularly are all you need to do to keep your veneers in good working condition. Be sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive fluoride toothpaste. Avoid whitening products, as they can scratch your veneers.

To make your veneers last, you should also avoid biting directly into hard or crunchy foods like apples, carrots and tough meats. Cut up these foods and chew them with your back teeth.

Porcelain veneers are stain resistant, but it’s still a good idea to avoid dark-colored foods and beverages, such as berries, red wine, coffee and tea. These foods and drinks can stain your veneers over time.

Risks / Benefits

What are the advantages of dental veneers?

Dental veneers offer a number of benefits. For example:

  • Veneers can dramatically enhance the appearance of your smile.
  • They blend in with your natural teeth for lifelike results.
  • Veneers resist staining better than your natural tooth enamel.
  • Dental veneers don’t require any additional maintenance.
  • They have a lifespan of 10 to 15 years with proper care.

What are the disadvantages of veneers?

Veneers also come with certain disadvantages. For example:

  • You’ll lose at least some of your natural enamel.
  • Many types of veneers aren’t reversible.
  • Your teeth may become more sensitive to heat and cold.
  • It’s possible for a veneer to fall off or become dislodged.
  • Dental veneers are cosmetic, so they’re not covered by most insurances.

Do veneers damage your teeth?

No. Veneers don’t actively damage your teeth. However, it’s still possible for the natural tooth structure underneath to decay. Therefore, it’s important to brush, floss and visit your dentist regularly for cleanings.

Are veneers permanent?

Most types of dental veneers are permanent, meaning they aren’t reversible. Some types of veneers, such as no-prep or minimal prep, are reversible.

On average, dental veneers last between 10 to 15 years with proper care and maintenance.

Recovery and Outlook

How can I keep my veneers in good condition?

Here are some recommendations for keeping your veneers looking and feeling great:

  • Brush at least twice a day with a nonabrasive fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Floss between your teeth once daily.
  • Use an antibacterial mouthwash twice a day.
  • Never use your teeth as tools (such as opening packages or tearing off clothing tags).
  • Visit your dentist for routine exams and cleanings.

When to Call the Doctor

When should I see my healthcare provider?

If you’re unhappy with the appearance of your smile, dental veneers may be a solution. Talk to your dentist about your cosmetic concerns and find out if veneers could work for you.

If you already have veneers and something doesn’t feel quite right, call your dentist right away.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Veneers are an excellent way to enhance your smile and boost your confidence — and they could be a solution for you. Before you choose treatment, weigh the pros and cons so you can make an informed decision. Talk to your dentist about your specific cosmetic goals and find out if dental veneers are a good option for you.

Medically Reviewed

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/18/2022.

Learn more about our editorial process.

Ad
Appointments 216.444.8500