Dental veneers are used to correct both color and tooth shape problems. Porcelain veneers are thin pieces of specially-shaped porcelain that are bonded over the front of your teeth. Composite resin veneers are applied directly to your teeth and sculpted to the desired shape. Both procedures can be performed without anesthesia. Veneers require a tooth reduction (where the thickness of the tooth is reduced).

In cases of serious tooth discoloration, dentists recommend dental veneers or crowns as opposed to bleaching.

Like teeth whitening, dental veneers are most popular among patients between 20-50 years of age. This demographic represents a majority of the American workforce. Those in the workforce are becoming increasingly interested in enhancing their looks for both personal and professional reasons.

Since 2000 the amount of patients getting porcelain veneers has increased by 250 percent.

Dental veneers can be a solution for:

  • Severely discolored or chipped teeth;
  • Misshapen or crooked teeth;
  • Teeth with small holes or pits;
  • Teeth with unwanted or uneven spaces


Your dentist will take a mold of your teeth, which will serve as the model to create your veneers. These custom veneers are then glued directly onto your teeth. Temporary veneers are worn until the permanent veneers are ready. During the temporary veneer stage, you should advise your dentist of any adjustments or changes you would like made to the size or shape of your veneers.

Your natural teeth are reduced and lightly buffed to prepare for the application of the veneers. The tooth reduction is necessary to accommodate the small added thickness of the veneer. The permanent veneers are first placed onto the teeth without cementation to verify the perfect fit and the color. The color cannot be changed once the veneers are permanently adhered to the teeth. The teeth are then cleansed with chemicals to achieve a durable bond. An ultraviolet light is used to harden the glue or cement between the teeth.

You may want to discuss the possibility of using “try in” veneers with your dentist. “Try in” veneers are secured to your teeth with temporary cement. The temporary cement is the same color cement that is used for the permanent attachment. During this “try-in” phase, you should look at the veneers in natural light in addition to office or home lighting.

Dental insurance typically does not cover the cost of veneers.

Types of Veneers

Composite Resin Veneers

Composite resin veneers, also known as direct veneers, can usually be applied to your teeth within one dental visit. The procedure involves an application of a composite resin material directly to the tooth surface. The resin material is sculpted by the dentist to the fit the desired shape of the tooth. Composite veneers typically last between 5-7 years.

Costs: The composite resin veneer procedure costs approximately $250 per tooth. This cost is significantly less than the porcelain veneer procedure.

Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers, also known as indirect veneers, are made of a very thin porcelain material. This procedure requires two visits to the dentist.

In your first visit, your dentist removes part of your tooth enamel to reduce thickness and make room for the veneers.

Next your dentist will make an impression of your teeth. The impression is sent to a dental laboratory where your veneers are custom-made.

On your next visit to the dentist, a mild chemical is applied to your teeth to achieve a durable bond. The veneers are then bonded to your teeth using composite resin cement.

A porcelain veneer procedure requires two or more dental visits at one to two weeks apart.

Porcelain veneers typically last 10-15+ years.

Costs: Porcelain veneers typically range from $900-$2,500 per tooth

Lumineer Porcelain Veneers

Lumineers are a new type of porcelain veneer made from Cerinate porcelain.

Cerinate is a thinner type of porcelain than the porcelain used in standard veneers. Therefore, little or no tooth reduction is required when applying a lumineer. In cases where no tooth reduction is necessary, lumineers are reversible.

Lumineers resist micro-leakage and micro-cracking more than traditional porcelain veneers.

Like porcelain veneers, lumineers require two visits to the dentist.

Lumineers are expected to last as long as traditional porcelain veneers, which is between 10-15+ years.

Costs: Lumineer porcelain veneers typically cost less than traditional porcelain veneers, ranging between $700-$1,000 per tooth.

Pros and Cons of Dental Veneers

Pros: Veneers do not stain, are strong, very durable, can actually strengthen the tooth, last between 5-15+ years, and typically cost less than crowns.

In most cases, veneers do not require the dentist to remove much of the tooth.

The procedure for veneers is typically completed in two appointments.

Aside from follow-up visits to a dentist, and general good oral hygiene, there is no additional maintenance needed for veneers.

Veneers can brighten dark teeth, and are a very popular solution for people seeking a perfect smile.

Cons: In some cases more tooth needs to be reduced. This may increase the risk of trauma to your teeth.

Expect minor sensitivity after your teeth have been prepared for veneers.

A difference in speech may be experienced, usually when pronouncing “s” and “f” sounds. A cosmetic dentist can make adjustments to your veneers to correct this problem.

Bruxism, the clenching or grinding of teeth, can damage veneers.

Ask a Dentist, Dental Q & A – Dental Veneers & Lumineers

How long does it take for a procedure?
The procedure takes several hours. It depends on the oral health condition of the patient. A patient should expect to be in the office for 3-4 hours. The dentist has to perform a thorough exam before starting the procedure.

How many dental visits does it require?

It takes just two visits for the entire procedure. Since it is necessary to do a thorough exam, the visits are several hours each. Dental offices allow patients to watch a movie while the procedure is done.

What are the various things I should keep in mind to get prepared for the procedure?
On the day of the teeth whitening appointment, it is highly recommended that a patient cleans his/her teeth thoroughly. The dentist will also check and clean the teeth prior to the procedure, but it saves time to be prepared.

Difference in look of teeth between the two visits?
On the first visit, the dentist prepares a provisional or temporary installation that will come as close as possible to the look the patient would like to achieve. The smile of a patient always looks better after the first visit, and after the second visit it will look great! Unlike most forms of cosmetic treatment, there is no healing time for this procedure.

What to expect during the procedure?
During the procedure, patients usually experience no discomfort. On your first visit, your dentist may give you freezing (called a local anesthetic). Aside from having to keep your mouth open for a period of time, there is no pain involved. Your dentist then removes part of the enamel from your teeth to make room for the veneers. Your dentist makes an impression of your teeth. The impression is sent to a dental lab where your veneers are custom-made. On your next visit, your dentist puts a mild chemical on your teeth to make them a little rough. This helps the veneers stick to your teeth better. The veneers are then attached to your teeth one by one, using composite resin cement.

Does the dentist use a laboratory for the procedure and is the cost of lab included in cost of the procedure?
The impressions of the teeth are sent to the lab to create custom-made veneers. The cost of the lab work is usually included in the procedure cost and is also discussed with the patient.

What do most people experience after the procedure?

After the first visit a patient can experience a slight degree of discomfort, but nothing that could not be remedied by ordinary Aspirin or Tylenol.

Are there any prescriptions provided after the procedure?
Usually Advil or Tylenol is recommended to ease the minor aches or pains that a patient may experience following the procedure.

What medical conditions would disqualify a person from getting a certain procedure?
The dentist should be informed of any and all medical conditions. This is necessary to avoid any complications that might occur during or after the procedure.

How long do the results last?
Veneers usually last for up to 12 years. This is the same timeframe for how long a crown will last. The ultimate timeframe depends on the oral health habits of the patient.

Things to keep in mind:

It is strongly recommend that a patient avoid eating sticky foods like gum, caramels, and taffy. Avoid hard candy and definitely do not chew ice cubes! Don’t bite your fingernails or chew on hard objects. Once veneers have been applied, a patient cannot reverse the treatment because a part of the tooth enamel has been removed. And, until the veneers are attached to your teeth, your teeth may be sore and look strange.


1 Christopher A. Jordan, DDS.