Veneers | MouthHealthy - Oral Health Information from the ADA


Dental veneers are custom-made, natural-looking coverings for your teeth made of high-quality dental material.

Veneers can improve the appearance of teeth that are:

  • chipped or broken
  • stained
  • crooked or misshapen

Veneers also can mask the gaps in your smile. They are different from crowns because they cover only the front surface of a tooth rather than the entire tooth structure. Treatment is not reversible, so it’s important to see a licensed dentist for veneer services.

Types of veneers

The two main types of veneers are porcelain and composite. Each type has its benefits.

A porcelain veneer is a thin shell custom-made to fit on the front surface of your teeth. Porcelain veneers are strong, long-lasting and natural-looking. They tend to be the more expensive option.

A composite veneer is made from a tooth-colored filling material that is bonded to the tooth. Composite veneers may require less tooth enamel to be removed and fewer visits to the dentist. They are easier to fix if damaged but are not as stain- or wear-resistant.

Before you get a veneer

Understand the following before you get a veneer:

  • Treatment is not reversible because tooth enamel is removed to place a veneer.
  • Your dentist must first treat any dental issues you have like decay or gum disease. Placing veneers over unhealthy teeth may worsen existing dental problems.
  • A veneer may chip, crack, wear down or loosen over time, requiring your dentist to re-bond, repair or replace it.
  • If you clench or grind your teeth, or have a deep overbite, veneers may not be a good choice.
  • Veneers are considered cosmetic dentistry so your veneer may not be covered by insurance unless it’s deemed medically necessary.

As with all your dental care, discuss your dental history, treatment expectations, and reservations with your dentist. They will help you determine if veneers are the right choice for your smile.

How veneers are placed

For safe and effective treatment, only trust a licensed dentist to place your veneer.

Veneer services from unlicensed individuals may come with potential risks for infection and nerve damage, and an unlicensed individual may unknowingly place veneers over unhealthy teeth. Check if your provider is licensed to provide dental services in your state before committing to treatment.

There are different steps to placing porcelain and composite veneers. Each process includes picking the best color shade to match your natural teeth. Your dentist will help you make that decision.

To place a porcelain veneer, your dentist will:

  1. Prepare your tooth for bonding by removing a small amount of enamel from the front and sides.
  2. Take an impression of the tooth for a mold or use a scanner to make a 3D computer model.
  3. Send the impression or 3D model to a dental lab so a dental technician may custom make the veneer to fit your tooth. You may have a temporary veneer until yours is ready.
  4. Place the veneer on your tooth to check the fit and shape. After any adjustments, your teeth are cleaned, and the veneer is bonded to the tooth.

To place a composite veneer, your dentist will:

  1. Prepare your tooth, then carefully bond and sculpt the composite material.
  2. Use a special light to harden the composite resin so it bonds to your tooth.
  3. Smooth and polish the veneer to look like your natural tooth.

It may take a few days to get used to your veneer but tell your dentist if your bite doesn’t feel right after placement so they can correct it.

Caring for veneers

To properly care for your veneer:

  • Avoid biting your fingernails and chewing on hard objects or foods.
  • Wear a mouthguard if you play a sport or do an activity that could injure your mouth.
  • Be cautious with foods and beverages that may stain or discolor your veneer such as coffee, tea or red wine.
  • Maintain your dental health by brushing with fluoride toothpaste twice a day and cleaning between your teeth daily. You can still get cavities under or around a veneer.
  • Use dental care products with the ADA Seal of Acceptance, which are safe and effective to help keep your mouth healthy.
The ADA’s statement on “veneer technicians”

The American Dental Association (ADA) is aware of reports of “veneer technicians” offering services to the public.

The ADA urges the public to be cautious of these services that eliminate the role of the dentist. Unsupervised dental treatment from unlicensed individuals has the potential to cause damaging complications for patients.

The ADA is committed to quality care and encourages the public to seek care from licensed dentists to ensure proper diagnosis, treatment and patient safety for all oral health needs.

Read the full statement.