Whether you’ve been overly influenced by magazine ads or TV commercials featuring models with their pearly whites in perfectly aligned smiles or you’ve got some dental issues that need correcting, dental veneers could be the solution you need. And studies show that you’re not the only one. In fact, most Americans aren’t that happy with their smile.

Before you plunk down some of your hard-earned money, there are a few things to consider if you’re in the market for some dental veneers.

What Exactly Are Veneers?

Dental veneers are thin, shells that a cosmetic dentist fits over the front of teeth to help their appearance, create a nice smile, and protect them from damage. The size, shape, and color of each veneer are customized to the person who is getting them.

While most dental patients choose veneers for cosmetic reasons, they do have some restorative functions. For this reason, they are a popular choice for patients who have stains, gaps, or chips.

People may get only one or as many as eight veneers for a more symmetrical smile. The top eight front teeth are the prime targets. Because they adhere to your natural teeth, they can be a great option for fixing your existing teeth instead of replacing them with implants or dentures.

What Are They Made Out Of?

The following are two of the most common materials for dental veneers.


Porcelain is the most common material for veneers. They are tooth-colored but can be lightened to brighten up a person’s smile. Not only are they natural looking, but they are also virtually stain resistant.

Porcelain veneers’ main advantage when they hit the market was the minimally invasive nature of the process. Unlike full restorative procedures like dental crowns, veneers don’t need much prep work for a successful shell placement.

Usually, a dentist begins by grinding down the tooth before making an impression to create a mold. Then he sends the mold out to a lab to make the veneer, although some dentists can make veneers in their offices using CAD/CAM technology. The final step is to place it on the prepared tooth and cement it in place.

Composite Resin

A slightly less expensive alternative to porcelain, composite resin veneers are made from the same material used in tooth-colored cavity fillings. Because they are sculpted right on the teeth instead of in a dental lab, they are usually offered as a same-day treatment option.

Normally, a dentist will etch the surface of the tooth prior to applying a layer of composite material on it. Composite veneers can, however, be placed right on uncut enamel.

It is important to note that chips in composite veneers can be repaired. If a porcelain veneer chips, the whole thing must be replaced. Nevertheless, they usually only last 5 to 7 years as opposed to 15 years or more for porcelain veneers.

What is the Difference Between Veneers, Implants, and Crowns?

Veneers are different from implants and crowns in that they only attach to the front surface of the tooth instead of covering the whole tooth like crowns. They are also thinner than crowns.

The procedure for applying veneers is less invasive as well. With a crown, a dentist has to grind down more of the tooth than he would for a veneer. An implant, however, is bonded to the jawbone to replace a missing tooth. Then a crown is placed on top of it.

Implants are used as replacements for missing teeth, whereas crowns are used to restore teeth that are badly damaged. On the other hand, veneers improve the overall appearance of teeth that are essentially intact.


Dental veneers are a great solution for cosmetic tooth problems. They can lighten their color and change their shape to bridge gaps, hide chips, or get rid of stains. Luckily, patients have a few choices when it comes to veneers. Porcelain veneers are a bit stronger and will last longer, but they also cost a bit more.

Composite resin veneers are less expensive but probably won’t last nearly as long and may break more easily. If you’re looking to upgrade your smile, talk to an experienced cosmetic dentist to find out the option that would work best for you.