22 Things To Know Before Getting Veneers

Top Cosmetic Dentist, Dr. Tejas Patel shares what you need to know about veneers.

As a Cosmetic Dentist who has done thousands of porcelain veneers, I get asked questions about veneers all the time.  Whether it’s a DM on Instagram or during an in office consultation. Over the years I’ve noticed that people generally have a lot of the same questions about veneers. I thought it would be helpful to collect these top questions into one resource.  I Hope this helps you on your journey to a confident smile!

Here are the 22 things I think you should know before getting veneers.

First of all, what are porcelain veneers?

Porcelain veneers are thin shells of porcelain that are custom made, tailored, and fitted for each tooth.  They are used to improve the color, shape, position, alignment, size and overall look of the teeth and smile.  Veneers are the perfect way to get a smile makeover and transform your smile.

What happens to the teeth under veneers?

You keep your natural tooth under the veneer, and the porcelain veneer fits over your tooth like a jacket.  Your tooth is good and healthy and would be slightly buffed or reshaped during the veneer process.  This reshaping allows room for the veneer to fit on the tooth.  The tooth is intact and the veneer is bonded to the tooth.  The bonding cement and adhesive provide a seal between the tooth and veneer.  This way the veneer will stay in place so nothing happens to the tooth under the veneer.  It’s still important to take care of your veneers, just like you would with your natural teeth.  So the care of the veneers would be: Brushing twice daily, flossing daily, and getting your teeth cleaned professionally twice a year (this is what we recommend for everyone to keep up with their oral health).

Do veneers ruin your teeth?

No, veneers do not ruin your teeth.  Veneers are used to improve the color, shape, size, alignment, and overall look of the teeth.  Veneers actually fix, improve , and enhance the teeth and smile.  The majority of people who get veneers love what the veneers do for their smile.

Many people ask if veneers ruin teeth because they are worried about the “shaving” of teeth.


How much of the tooth do you have to shave down for veneers?

Veneers generally require some buffing or reshaping of the natural teeth, but this is very minimal. Veneers are thin shells of porcelain that cover the front surface and the edges of the teeth.  They can be as thin as a contact lense.  As materials, technology, and techniques improve, the “shaving” of teeth has become very minimal.

Generally, for veneers, we buff 0.5 mm from the edges of the teeth and 0.3mm from the front surface of the tooth.  Basically that is the thickness of 3 to 5 strands of hair. (Human hair on average is 0.1mm in thickness).

If a tooth is short and needs to be lengthened or if it is too thin and needs to be thicker, then even less tooth structure has to be removed or “shaved.”  An experienced Cosmetic Dentist can offer no tooth preparation veneers or minimal preparation veneers.


Are veneers permanent?

Yes, porcelain veneers are a permanent option for transforming and improving your smile.  Veneers can help improve the color, position, shape, alignment, and look of the teeth and smile.  Porcelain veneers are also a great way to get a new permanently white smile.  Veneers are designed to last many years.  Therefore, getting porcelain veneers is not a reversible treatment.


How many veneers should I get and what color should I choose for the veneers?

Once someone decides they want veneers, the next questions we try and answer are:

How many veneers should we do? And, What color should we pick for the veneers?

The answers to both of these questions are related.  When deciding how many veneers someone should get, one of the first things we evaluate is how big is the person’s smile?

Then we have to consider, what is the desired color of teeth that the person wants? How bright or white do they want their smile to be?

When someone smiles a big smile, they usually will show about 8 to 10 teeth of the upper teeth.   If someone shows 10 teeth on the upper and wants the teeth to be super white, then we would say that the person would benefit from 10 upper teeth veneers.
If the person has whitened their teeth and the teeth have a good shape and are in good alignment, then we would consider doing less veneers.  It all depends on what we’re starting with and what the end goal is.   When deciding the color, we look at the patient’s skin tone, complexion, and facial features to determine the best shade of teeth for them.  If the patient is whitening their teeth and doing a few veneers, then the color chosen would be to match the newly whitened teeth.  If the person is doing a full veneer smile of 10 teeth, then the person can do as white as they want.  Many times we do laser teeth whitening of the lower teeth to balance out the color between the top and bottom teeth.  Some people are happy just doing their upper teeth smile with veneers while many others do their top and bottom teeth smile with veneers.


Does it hurt to get veneers?

For the veneer process, the person is generally numb during the procedure, so there should not be any pain.  Most Cosmetic Dentists offer different levels of sedation to make their clients comfortable during the numbing process and the entire procedure (from laughing gas to oral sedation pills). Also, there are other amenities, like watching TV or listening to music during the procedure to make people more comfortable.


How much do veneers cost?

Veneers can range in price.  This can depend on the area, the expertise of the dentist, and the quality of materials that are used.  On average, veneers can cost from $1,000 to $3,000 and up per tooth or per veneer.  For smile makeovers, people usually do 6 veneers, 8 veneers, or 10 veneers on their upper teeth smile. Since veneers are a cosmetic procedure, many offices work with third party financing companies to help people get financed so they can pay monthly.  Since veneers are an elective cosmetic procedure, insurance does not cover any portion of the cost of veneers.


How long do veneers take from start to finish?

Generally, porcelain veneers take about 2 to 3 steps to complete. In just a few weeks, you could have a new smile with veneers.   There are 3 main steps for the veneer process.

  • Step 1: Initial Consultation and Smile Design.
  • Step 2: Preparation Visit and Temporary Veneers.
  • Step 3: Placement of the Permanent Veneers.

From the initial consultation visit to the preparation visit often takes a week.  From the preparation visit to the placement of the permanent veneers usually takes two weeks.  So, from start to finish, veneers take  2 to 3 visits and about 3 to 4 weeks total time.


What could go wrong with veneers?

The worst that could happen is that a veneer or veneers would have to be redone or replaced.  Some reasons why veneers may have to be redone are: If you’re unhappy with the result of the veneers,  if the fit of the veneers is not ideal which is causing issues, or if the veneer chips, breaks, or comes loose.  It is not common, but a veneer can chip, come off, or debond.  When the veneers are being placed and bonded it’s important that certain steps are followed.  When these steps are compromised then a veneer can debond or come off.  One of the most important things about having a good bond between the veneers and the teeth is having the gums as healthy as possible.  That’s why it’s so important to keep the gums clean and healthy before the placement of the veneers.

By getting the treatment done by an experienced Cosmetic Dentist, all of the issues above can be avoided.

Veneers are meant to be a permanent solution for transforming a smile.  They are designed to last many years.  Therefore, getting porcelain veneers is not a reversible treatment.


How do celebrities have perfect, white teeth?

Most celebrities have veneers! It’s amazing how many celebrities have veneers.  Think of your top 5 celebrities that you follow and I’m confident that at least 4 out of 5 have veneers.  The other 1 out of 5 probably had professional teeth whitening and possibly teeth straightening.  Hands down, the most common cosmetic dental procedure for celebrities is veneers.


Can veneers be whitened?

Veneers can not be whitened if they are porcelain veneers.  The great thing about porcelain veneers is that the color stays the same over the years.  That’s a good thing if you’re getting a new fresh set of veneers.  It’s not so good if you have an old set of veneers that you wish were whiter.  If you have old veneers and want them to be whiter, then one of the only ways to change the color of the veneers is to have them replaced or redone.

If a person gets resin veneers, composite veneers, or composite bondings, those veneers will stain over time and can’t be whitened either.  To get a fresh look, they should probably be redone with porcelain veneers to fix the color.


How often do veneers need to be replaced?

Veneers may need to be replaced after 15 years or longer.  We’ve seen good veneers last even longer than 15 years.  There are cases where veneers have lasted over 30 years.   As long as veneers are cared for like natural teeth, they can last for decades.  Brushing twice a day for two minutes each time and flossing daily are key to maintaining a healthy smile with veneers.  Also, getting your checkups and professional dental cleanings done twice a year is important as well.


Do veneers make your breath stink?

Well made and high quality veneers do not make your breath stink.  Veneers that are not made well and are thick and irritating to the gums and catch food can cause issues with your breath.  Low quality veneers or composite veneers tend to cause more issues with the gums and breath.  It’s important to see an experienced Cosmetic Dentist to avoid any of these issues.


Can you get veneers without shaving your teeth down?

Most people ask this question because they are worried about the “shaving” of teeth that they hear about for veneers.  Veneers generally require some buffing or reshaping of the natural teeth, but this is very minimal. Veneers are thin shells of porcelain that cover the front and edges of the teeth.  They can be as thin as a contact lense.  As materials, technology, and techniques improve, the “shaving” of teeth has become very minimal.  Experienced Cosmetic Dentists can offer no tooth preparation veneers or minimal preparation veneers.  Ultimately, each case and each smile is different.  No prep veneers can work really well in certain situations.


What is the downtime with veneers?

There is virtually no downtime with veneers.  It’s like getting other dental work done.  You’re numb for the procedure, but are fine to return to work after the procedure.  If you use some sort of sedation for the procedure, then you will want to take time off immediately after the procedure, but would be fine to return to work the next day.


Do you have to brush veneers?

Yes, you definitely have to brush veneers and would care for the veneers just like your natural teeth.  To maintain a healthy mouth we want to prevent cavities on our teeth, prevent gum disease around our teeth, and prevent infection of our teeth and gums.  With veneers, we want to prevent cavities, gum disease, and infection around the veneers and the teeth under the veneers.  Brushing twice a day for two minutes each time and flossing daily are key to maintaining a healthy smile with veneers.  Also, getting your checkups and professional dental cleanings done twice a year is important as well.


How do I choose a Cosmetic Dentist to do my veneers?

When choosing a Cosmetic Dentist, choose wisely.  There are many things to consider.  One of the first things to look at is their experience.  Do they do veneer cases all the time or just every once in a while?  Also, evaluate their work and results by looking at their before and after photos .  When looking at their work, do all of their veneer cases look the same? Do they use the same shape, design, and color for all of their smiles?  Or do their smiles all look unique and customized? How do the completed smiles look with the patient’s facial features? Don’t forget to read their reviews and ask around to get a feel for their reputation and customer satisfaction specifically for veneers.  On their social media and videos, what’s the vibe and feel that they give off?  It’s also important that the Cosmetic Dentist works with a highly skilled and talented Ceramist as the Ceramist has a hand in creating the final porcelain veneers.  Definitely research and talk with a few Cosmetic Dentists and see who you’re most comfortable with.


How do lip fillers work with  veneers?

Let your Cosmetic Dentist  know if you’ve had or will be getting lip fillers. The lips are the frame to the smile.  The lips and other facial features serve as reference points for the newly designed smile.  When choosing the new length of the teeth with veneers,  we analyze the amount of teeth showing when your lips are at rest and also the amount of teeth showing when you smile.  Many people who choose to do veneers do so because they want to show more of their teeth when they smile.  Since lip fillers can affect the lips and their volume, sometimes more or less of the teeth and smile can be shown.  Let your Cosmetic Dentist know if you have lip fillers or are planning on getting lip fillers, so they can provide the best result for you.


What about afterwards, does it hurt after getting veneers?

The teeth and gums may be sore after getting veneers but it’s very minimal.  Usually, over the counter Advil or Tylenol will help with any post op soreness and discomfort.  If there is soreness, it usually occurs the day of the procedure.  Most patients are fine to return to work the same day or the day after depending on if they did sedation or not.  Regardless, there is really no downtime for the veneer process.  After the veneer process is finished, some people may experience sensitivity with the teeth for a few days or weeks after.  This will generally go away over time or after an adjustment or buffing to the veneers.


What can you eat and not eat with veneers?

You basically can eat everything with veneers.  Veneers should act and feel like your natural teeth.  You can eat your normal diet with veneers without any worries.  And yes, you can even bite into an apple with veneers.  You can drink coffee, tea, and alcohol after getting veneers.  You also don’t have to worry about any staining because veneers will keep their brightness and color over time.

There are certain things that are bad for your teeth that can cause your natural teeth to break or crack.  Since these certain things can cause teeth to break or crack, they could cause issues with veneers as well.  The things that can cause teeth and veneers to crack and break are:  popcorn kernels, hard ice, finger nails, shells, and opening packages with your teeth.  There’s a saying that goes, “don’t use your teeth as tools,”  so don’t try to break things open with veneers.


Are veneers worth it?

Absolutely!  The majority of people who get veneers love what the veneers do for their smile.  Overall, veneers have a 91%+ worth it/ satisfaction rating on RealSelf.com.   There are so many benefits of getting veneers!  Since veneers transform the smile, getting veneers can be life changing.  The biggest difference we see is that veneers help build confidence and self esteem.

Thanks for taking the time to read this!  I hope this information helps you on your journey to a  confident smile!

About Dr. Tejas Patel

Tejas Patel, DDS  is one of the top Cosmetic Dentists in the United States and his Cosmetic Dental Practice is located in Austin, Texas.  Over the past 18 years he has completed thousands of smile makeovers using porcelain veneers.  Besides being passionate about helping give  people confident smiles, Dr. Patel enjoys reading, yoga, movies, comic books, travelling, giving back to the community, learning to DJ,  and spending time with his family.