Cosmetic Dentistry |2 min read

When is tooth preparation vs. no preparation necessary for Porcelain Veneers?

Porcelain veneers were first introduced in the early 1980’s and presented as something we could do for our patients by simply adding them to the fronts of teeth; without anesthetic and without removing any tooth structure.  While this worked in some select cases, it was a very small percentage with most cases looking oversized, bulky and unnatural.

Over 25 years of perfecting the art and science of aesthetic dentistry, we have discovered ways to make porcelain veneers look like beautiful natural teeth with depth of color, proper shape and inclination, color zones like natural teeth, translucency to the edge, and surface texture and anatomy polished to look like natural teeth.

In most cases, room must be created by minor tooth preparation for the veneer, so when placed, it will create contours of a beautiful natural tooth.

There are some very good indications for doing veneers without having to prepare the teeth.  The so-called “thin veneer” has been developed for these situations.  The best indications for these are when the front teeth could use a little more “prominence” in the smile, and if the teeth seem a little “set back” in the mouth. Also, if the teeth are small and/or have spaces, the no prep veneers can be a good choice if they do not add too much prominence in the front.  We don’t want to create bulky teeth or a “buck tooth” look.

Still, most veneers do require some preparation of tooth structure.  There are many reasons:

  • Changing the color of teeth
  • Making color consistent in multiple teeth
  • Changing the shapes of teeth
  • Changing the size of teeth; width, length or depth
  • Closing spaces between teeth
  • Restoring worn tooth structure–usually the edges of front teeth
  • Improving bite function in front teeth, providing proper function in back teeth
  • Making crowded teeth appear straight, also known as “instant orthodontics”
  • Building out a narrowed arch to create a fuller, beautiful, flowing smile.
  • Improving improper inclinations of teeth
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