Do Veneers Ruin the Teeth? 10 Things to Consider Before Getting Veneers (2023)

Published on October 11, 2017 | Last Updated on May 7, 2022 by Vijai Chandra, M.D.

Dreaming of a picture-perfect smile? You may want to consider getting dental veneers, which can help you achieve bright, white and perfectly aligned teeth.

Dental veneers are thin shells, usually between .3 and .5 millimeters thick, made of porcelain or ceramic composite that is placed over the natural teeth to create a more unified and healthy appearance. According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), this dental procedure ranks in the top three most popular cosmetic dentistry procedures in the United States.

Those who get veneers often want to mask worn tooth enamel, spacing issues, discoloration, cracks and chips on the surfaces of the teeth. In other words, veneers can help you achieve brand-new, healthy teeth and bring plenty of cosmetic benefits to boot.

But dental veneers aren’t right for every application, and not all those with cosmetic dental issues can benefit from them. Here are some important points to consider.

Do Veneers Ruin the Teeth?

While a new set of pearly whites can certainly bring benefits, many dentists believe that the procedure is widely overused, and that it can lead to long-term dental problems. Placement of the new veneers can remove between 3 and 30 percent of the existing tooth structure, which professionals believe is unjustified in some cases.Studies show a good alternative to be no-prep veneers, such as Lumineers, which don’t entail the removal of any significant amount of the tooth’s surface.

However, most dentists agree that with proper X-rays to determine tooth and gum health, traditional veneers can be safely applied without causing long-term damage.

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Dr. Paul Sussman of the Center for Cosmetic & General Dentistry in Rochester, NY is of that opinion: “Most patients find that veneers make a significant improvement to their smiles,” says Sussman. “The procedure does require alteration of the teeth to provide a suitable surface for the veneers, but an experienced dentist will remove no more enamel than necessary and preserve as much of the tooth structure as possible.”

Do Veneers Hurt?

It all depends on what kind of veneers are used and what your cosmetic dentist recommends. The placement of the veneers is generally pain-free, but the preparation requires drilling and the removal of some enamel, which can be uncomfortable.

Compared with traditional veneers, new options are thinner and stronger, which means dentists don’t have to remove as much enamel as before, which helps minimize pain during the procedure. Typically, your doctor will use local anesthesia to ensure that the procedure is comfortable for you.

“During the procedure the treatment area is numbed, so pain is minimal, or even nonexistent,” says Sussman. “Discomfort might be present for a few days after the procedure — usually in the form of tooth sensitivity, but this is typically short-lived.”

In the case of no-prep veneers, there is rarely a need for anesthesia, since this type of veneer doesn’t require any drilling.

Do Veneers Stain?

“One of the biggest advantages of veneers is that dental porcelain is impervious, meaning it won’t stain,” says Sussman. “And veneers can last 10 years or more, so one of the aspects patients love the most about the results is how long the whiteness of the smile lasts.”

Previously, cosmetic dentists used a feldspathic porcelain veneer that layered glass-based powder and liquid. Now, dentists typically used pressed ceramic veneers, which are even better at preventing stains.

Additionally, the cosmetic dental procedure usually requires the veneers to be finished with a stain-resistant resin. Each tooth-shaped shell is better equipped to keep teeth free of stains from coffee, tea, wine and smoking than your natural teeth.If you have dental issues that cause yellowing or staining, porcelain veneers are a good option for achieving pearly white teeth.

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Do Veneers Last Forever?

“Veneers last a number of years, but they aren’t forever,” says Sussman. “They will need to be replaced eventually, but when that day comes will depend on how well patients care for their veneers and oral health in general.”

Research suggests that after 10 years, about half of veneers are no longer present, have required new treatment or are no longer in good condition.

Because the process takes off a significant amount of the existing natural tooth, patients will have to have veneers replaced or choose an alternative once they begin to show signs of wear. With that taken into account, there are a variety of veneer types on the market, and some last longer than others. For example, pressed ceramic veneers are thinner and require the dentist to remove less tooth structure (and therefore won’t damage the teeth as much), but they don’t last as long as feldspathic veneers.

If you’ve ever had temporary veneers, know that permanent ones are entirely different, and are made of a more durable material that’s less likely to break or crack.

Do Veneers Straighten the Teeth?

Unlike traditional braces or clear aligners like Invisalign, veneers don’t technically move or straighten teeth. They can, however, create the appearance of neater and more well-aligned teeth.

During the procedure, an experienced cosmetic dentist will reshape the teeth to correct overlaps and gaps. Tooth material is removed and then replaced with new ceramic tooth material, which can improve the appearance of crooked, crowded or gapped teeth. Many cosmetic dentists recommend placing veneers only on the upper teeth and leaving the lower teeth intact, but those who have significant issues with misaligned teeth on the bottom often have veneers placed on the bottom as well.

“The ‘instant orthodontics’ moniker that hangs around veneers comments on their efficacy, not their ability,” says Sussman. “Veneers correct the aesthetic issues caused by crooked teeth, but actually straightening them requires orthodontic treatment.”

What’s Recovery like After Veneers?

Getting new teeth isn’t as invasive or intense as it may seem. In fact, most patients have a brand-new smile after just two office visits, which usually last no more than two hours. Additionally, most patients who receive only local anesthesia are able to immediately return to their normal activities after the procedure.Of course, if you opt for sedation dentistry, you will need at least a day to recover from the use of general anesthesia.

(Video) 3 things to consider before getting porcelain veneers

Some patients do report minor side effects after having veneers put in place. You may experience some tooth sensitivity, headaches, jaw pain or tooth pain. Some people who get porcelain veneers also report that their teeth were so sensitive after the procedure that eating was difficult, but this isn’t a common occurrence.

“Patients can leave the office immediately after the procedure; there is no downtime,” says Sussman. “Some patients experience discomfort when they have food and drink that is too hot or cold, but this sensitivity goes away usually within a week. It’s best to avoid hard, chewy foods during that time, too, so you can get used to your veneers and not damage them.”

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How Do Veneers Change over Time?

The primary issue with veneers aging is that, like most materials, they will break down over time. Most veneers will begin to decay and recede near the gums after several years, which can cause the veneers to become weak or loose, making them more susceptible to breakage or de-bonding. This also makes staining more likely over time around the top area where the veneer meets the gum line.

Since veneers typically last between 10 and 20 years, most patients will have to have them replaced or fixed at some point. The good news is that new veneers are relatively easy to add, since the preparation process was already done during the initial procedure.

Can Veneers Fall out Easily?

Depending on which type of veneer you get, it will be secured in place by a very strong, long-lasting bond. It’s relatively uncommon for veneers to simply fall off.

“When performed properly, veneers should stay in position throughout their lifetime,” says Sussman. “However, strong force like chewing on ice or sustaining an injury can cause veneers to become loose. If a veneer falls out on its own, though, that suggests an issue with the bonding that holds the veneer in place.”

And because the somewhat-fragile porcelain is susceptible to chipping and cracking, some dentists may recommend staying away from any extremely hard foods, and avoiding things like bones, hard nuts and seeds.

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Composite vs. Porcelain: What Kind of Veneers Should I Get?

There are two popular types of dental veneers: porcelain veneers and no-prep veneers. There are also composite veneers, which are generally used to fix small cosmetic issues.

Unlike no-prep and traditional porcelain veneers, composite veneers are significantly cheaper, but aren’t stain-resistant and don’t provide the same natural-looking finish. Still, dentists can keep composite veneers in great shape with regular polishing.

Composite veneers are popular because they can be finished relatively quickly in a single visit, but they don’t last as long as porcelain.Porcelain veneers are more expensive, but better for those who have several cosmetic issues — yellowing, chips, cracks, crowding or gapping — and who prefer a more natural look. However, they require drilling, which can compromise the quality of the teeth for the long-term.

No-prep veneers are also on the pricey end, but don’t require a large amount of enamel removal, so they’re better for the teeth. Other options include instant veneers, which are pre-made rather than custom-made. Removable veneers — sometimes called the “snap-on smile” are a relatively new option. This type of veneer can be put on and taken off by you at will, which makes eating and cleaning easier.

Am I a Good Candidate for Veneers?

If you want to get porcelain veneers, you have to meet a few criteria. For one, you must have reasonably good oral health. Those with gum disease, significant tooth decay or a root canal infection should not get porcelain veneers.

Good candidates have moderately straight teeth and good oral hygiene, and don’t grind or clinch their teeth, as this can quickly wear away the porcelain. If you have prohibitive dental issues that bar you from getting veneers, your cosmetic or general dentistry professional should be able to find an alternate solution. For example, dental crowns made of composite resin or dental implants may be more suitable for you.

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Do veneers ruin teeth? ›

The short answer is no. Nothing will happen to your teeth as long as you take care of your veneers – which is easy to do. Having said this, decay can still occur if veneers aren't installed properly, or you neglect your dental hygiene.

How do you keep your teeth healthy under veneers? ›

You can maintain your veneers the exact same way you look after your regular teeth – with a good oral health care routine. That means brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, flossing regularly, using antibacterial mouthwash, and avoiding sugary or acidic foods/drinks where possible.

Can veneers affect your health? ›

Yes, porcelain veneers are safe.

People often have the same question about tattoos and piercings. While we can't speak for those, we do know that porcelain veneers are not harmful. The veneer itself, being made of porcelain, is biocompatible so patients never have to worry about having an allergic reaction.

Can teeth shift under veneers? ›

Dental veneers won't prevent your teeth from shifting out of place, so you will need to wear the retainers as prescribed by your dentist or orthodontist.

Why do people destroy their teeth for veneers? ›

Once your teeth are healthy and ready to go, we need to prep your teeth. To prep your teeth for porcelain veneers, we must first remove a thin layer of your enamel to make room for the veneers. Although this might sound harmful to your teeth, it's not because we're bonding veneers over your teeth.

Can you go back to normal teeth after veneers? ›

To summarise, the veneer itself can be removed using special dental tools, but once bonded no matter how minimal the preparation the tooth enamel cannot be put back – although there are some veneer products and licensed dentists who would have you believe otherwise!

What can you get instead of veneers? ›

Four Alternatives to Veneers
  • Crowns. Made of either metal, porcelain, or ceramic, crowns are strong, long-lasting, and can be made to match the color of your teeth. ...
  • Bonding. A quick fix for discolored or chipped teeth, bonding covers the tooth with a layer of composite resin material. ...
  • Teeth Whitening. ...
  • Braces/Invisalign.
9 Feb 2022

What is the best toothpaste for veneers? ›

Though Supersmile toothpaste is safe and effective for porcelain veneers, your cosmetic dentist may recommend a prescription strength fluoride toothpaste for daily home care, such as Prevident 5000 by Colgate, especially if you're prone to cavities, have root exposed teeth or have many dental restorations such as ...

How do you brush with veneers? ›

We recommend reaching for a non-abrasive toothpaste that's free from gritty ingredients like baking soda and charcoal. And use a soft-bristled manual or electric toothbrush to ensure a thorough yet gentle clean. Brushing removes plaque buildup from the surface of your restorations.

What are the disadvantages of veneers? ›

Cons of Veneers
  • Veneers are permanent.
  • They can make teeth a bit more sensitive to heat and cold.
  • While porcelain veneers are less susceptible to staining, composite veneers may stain.
  • Veneers aren't a solution for failing teeth. Talk with your dentist about other options such as crowns.
26 Oct 2021

How long will my teeth ache after veneers? ›

Any sensitivity you experience in the days following the placement of your veneers may just be due to the procedure itself, rather than your modified enamel. For most patients, the sensitivity wears off within a few days to a few weeks.

What happens to veneers when you get old? ›

The dental veneers will chip or crack or get worn down. Composite or porcelain veneers can be durable, but they can start to wear down and may even crack over time. Your tooth supporting the veneer can become decayed. The veneer can be intact and strong even if the underlying tooth is not.

What happens if your teeth shift with veneers? ›

Answer: Shifting

The fact that you have veneers has no effect on wether your teeth will shift or not whenever you lose a tooth there is always a chance of shifting I would suggest having a retainer made to hold the teeth in place.

Do veneers go under the gum? ›

There needs to be a margin near the gum line for the technician to make the veneers to. Since aesthetics are critical, this should be at or just under the gum line.

How long does it take to fit veneers? ›

A popular procedure, veneer placement for most people can be done in approximately three weeks and involves three separate trips to a dental office. This relatively simple treatment can be a lasting solution to improve the look of a smile.

What are disadvantages of veneers? ›

Cons of Veneers
  • Veneers are permanent.
  • They can make teeth a bit more sensitive to heat and cold.
  • While porcelain veneers are less susceptible to staining, composite veneers may stain.
  • Veneers aren't a solution for failing teeth. Talk with your dentist about other options such as crowns.
26 Oct 2021

How long do veneers last on teeth? ›

With reasonable precautions, dental veneers can last anywhere from 10 to 30 years. While you can eat almost anything you like, it is important to exercise reasonable precautions because dental veneers are not indestructible. Porcelain is a glass and can shatter with excessive pressure.

Do veneers get cavities? ›

In short, porcelain veneers themselves cannot get cavities. However, the teeth they adhere to are still subject to decay, which is why it is of the utmost importance that you maintain a solid oral hygiene routine following your procedure.

Are teeth veneers worth it? ›

Many people say yes - the benefits of veneers outweigh the costs. The major benefit is that they significantly improve the appearance of your teeth. You'll have a more even smile that you feel confident about, which can make a huge difference in your quality of life.

What can you get instead of veneers? ›

Four Alternatives to Veneers
  • Crowns. Made of either metal, porcelain, or ceramic, crowns are strong, long-lasting, and can be made to match the color of your teeth. ...
  • Bonding. A quick fix for discolored or chipped teeth, bonding covers the tooth with a layer of composite resin material. ...
  • Teeth Whitening. ...
  • Braces/Invisalign.
9 Feb 2022

What is better Lumineers or veneers? ›

For most problems such as diastema and severe discoloration or even chipped and cracked teeth, porcelain veneers are still the way to go. Note also that while Lumineers and other no-prep veneers cost less up front, they have less longevity which translates to a higher cost of ownership in the long run.

Do veneers cause gum recession? ›

Can Porcelain Veneers Cause Gum Recession? No. People with porcelain veneers can suffer from gum recession, but the porcelain veneers themselves are not the cause of lost gum tissue.

How many times can you redo veneers? ›

In general, you will have to replace your veneers roughly every 15 to 20 years. However, you may need to replace cheap or low-quality veneers sooner than veneers installed at an experienced dental practice. Chips and cracks in the veneer caps are another sign that it's time for a replacement.

Which veneer is best? ›

Zirconia based porcelain veneers are a type of porcelain veneers that are used to treat more severely damaged or decayed teeth. Zirconia is extremely durable and veneers made from it are stronger than traditional porcelain veneers. They're also resistant to fracture.

How do you keep veneers white? ›

How to Keep Your Dental Veneers White
  1. Regular Brushing and Flossing. Even with veneers, you should brush your teeth at least twice per day, using fluoride toothpaste. ...
  2. Avoid Beverages that Stain Teeth. ...
  3. Eat Fruits and Vegetables. ...
  4. Visit the Dentist Regularly.
2 Mar 2017


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