If you know anyone with dental veneers, you've likely heard how much they love them. These thin shells of dental porcelain bonded to the front of teeth can hide a multitude of defects—from chips to mild gaps between teeth.
But your friend may also have told you their teeth required some preparation before the dentist bonded the custom veneers. That's because traditional veneers, although relatively thin, can still appear too bulky if applied straight to the teeth.
To help them look more natural, dentists often remove a tiny amount of surface enamel. Even though doing this won't harm your teeth, having less enamel (which doesn't grow back) could leave your teeth vulnerable to disease and sensitivity. Teeth prepped in this manner will require a veneer or some other form of restoration from that point on.
Up until recently, few people could avoid having their teeth permanently altered prior to receiving veneers. Now, though, you may have an alternative: a new, ultra-thin veneer that requires little to no tooth preparation beforehand. These new options are known as no-prep or minimal-prep veneers.
These new veneers are as thin as contact lenses, and have such a low profile that they don't have to fit under the gum line (often the case with traditional veneers and one of the reasons for tooth alteration). The dentist may still need to reshape the enamel using an abrasive tool, but it's much less of an alteration than what may be required of traditional veneers.
And unlike traditional veneers, it's unlikely you'll need local anesthesia during their application, a common practice with tooth prep before veneers. You may also be able to have these veneers removed later without the need for another restoration to cover the teeth.
No-prep/minimal-prep veneers are well-suited for people with small (or those that appear so), worn or slightly misshaped teeth. On the other hand, those with oversized teeth or teeth that jut forward may still need some prep work even with these ultra-thin veneers.
To find out if these new veneers are right for you, you'll need to undergo a comprehensive dental exam. If they are, your teeth may be able to avoid permanent alteration—and still look amazing with your new veneers.
If you would like more information on porcelain dental veneers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “No-Prep Porcelain Veneers.”