If you are exploring porcelain veneers to address your smile concerns, you should know that there are two major categories options: prep or no-prep veneers. If you’re not familiar with veneers, this may not mean much to you yet. It will, however, cause you to wonder which is going to be required for you, what exactly all of this means, and how to proceed. We encourage you to begin this intro to your veneer journey with answers to frequently asked questions (located at the bottom of this blog).
Are you looking for an alternative to traditional dental veneer treatment? Something less invasive? Maybe you’ve looked into cosmetic bonding but didn’t think that was right for you. There are many low-prep and no-prep veneer options on the market today. Although not all veneer cases lend themselves to low-prep or no-prep, your dentist can tell you whether or not you are a candidate. But first, what exactly are no-prep veneers?
Traditional vs. No-Prep
Traditional veneer placement requires the removal of tooth structure equal to the thickness of the veneer. This allows the veneer to lie flush with the other teeth. Sometimes more than just the tooth enamel needs removing which makes the procedure irreversible. If you have fear of dental injections, you may not enjoy the administering of a local anesthetic before removing tooth structure.
The placement of traditional veneers frequently comes with side effects. The removal of enamel and natural tooth structure can cause heightened sensitivity due to the fact that there is less tooth structure to act a barrier between the inner root and outer environment. While this heightened sensitivity typically resolves within a few weeks, it can require a significant adjustment period.
With no-prep veneers, tooth structure may also need to be modified, but not to the extent required for traditional veneers. There is no extensive grinding, cutting, or filing down. Because it is a less-invasive procedure, there is often no need for a local anesthetic either, and patients can enjoy a lower risk of side effects. Both traditional and no-prep veneers are adhesively bonded to the facial surface, or front, of the teeth.
No-prep veneers are a suitable treatment for many conditions including:
- Gaps or spaces between teeth
- Teeth that look too small
- Worn-down teeth
- Chipped or cracked teeth
- Stained or discolored teeth
- Misaligned teeth
- Misshapen teeth
- Discolored enamel
No-prep veneers are not just for individuals who suffer from cosmetic blemishes. If you have wanted a photo-ready or “Hollywood” smile, veneers can drastically revamp your teeth.
Veneers vs. Teeth Whitening
If you are satisfied with the shape and size of your teeth but suffer from discoloration, teeth whitening may be able to deliver the cosmetic results you desire. Our office offers take-home teeth whitening kits that can be used in the convenience of your home. We are proud to offer Nite White Excel 3, a liquid gel that safely and effectively whitens your teeth while you sleep.
Teeth whitening results are only temporary. Typically, the whitening results last around three years. Teeth that undergo whitening are still prone to staining while porcelain veneers are stain-resistant.
Veneers vs. Cosmetic Bonding
Cosmetic bonding can alter the shape of your tooth. For patients who have minor chips or gaps, this can be an affordable and quick treatment option. Cosmetic bonding only lasts a few years, though, while porcelain veneers last several years or longer. Cosmetic bonding is best suited for addressing minor cosmetic blemishes while porcelain veneers are capable of transforming a smile.
Questions and Answers
Question: What does the “prep” refer to when we’re talking about porcelain veneers?
Answer: When we say that we may need to prep your teeth, keep in mind that it is a very conservative process. We will remove a tiny bit of your enamel (the outer layer of your teeth). We will use a gentle process through which we smooth down the tooth.
Question: Why might I require preparation for my veneers?
Answer: We may decide that you will benefit from prep-included porcelain veneers because your teeth require significant changes. Perhaps you have significant problems with texture or want a dramatic change with the shape of your teeth. As a result, to create an impressive transformation and fit, prep is often required.
Question: Who might end up qualifying for no-prep veneers?
Answer: If you are planning on receiving veneers but you are not choosing them for a very dramatic change, you may not require any type of prep. Teeth may already be ready for placement, in which case there is no need to remove any enamel.
Question: Will dental insurance cover the cost of my no-prep veneers?
Dental insurance typically does not cover cosmetic dental veneers since the procedure is elective and not restorative. If you have questions about payment plans or financing, please ask a member of our team.
Question: How long do veneers last?
The average lifespan of a veneer is around seven years. With proper care and good oral hygiene, they can last significantly longer. Once your veneers are placed, you should take special care to not use the shells to pry open containers or wrapping. If your veneers ever need replacing, the process is simple and straightforward.
About Your Lake Forest Dentist
Aside from providing dependable general and restorative dentistry services to our community, Dr. James Fondriest also holds respected academic appointments at the Pankey Institute in Key Biscayne, FL, and the Spear Institute in Scottsdale, AZ, and he is an adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Prosthodontics at the University of Florida Dental School.
At Lake Forest Dental Arts, Dr. Fondriest combines his impressive array of experience with modern technology and caring, compassionate, knowledgeable staff, and we proudly serve patients from Chicago and the North Shore and Northwest suburbs. We often serve patients from all over the United States. To schedule a consultation, call our office today at (847) 234-0517.