Veneers - Types, Costs and Aftercare - What You Need to Know
Clinical content featured by Byte is reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to help ensure clinical accuracy.
We follow strict sourcing guidelines and each page contains a full list of sources for complete transparency.
Table of Contents
- What are Veneers
- Types of Veneers
- How Much Do Veneers Cost?
- Dental Office Will Help
- Getting Veneers Put In
- 4 Tips for Caring for Your Veneers
If you’re unhappy with the appearance of your smile, dental veneers can provide a swift and permanent solution. Dentists can install these tooth coverings to mask a variety of cosmetic dental issues ranging from discoloration to poor positioning and even congenital tooth defects.
Veneers come in two main types: porcelain and composite. They cost anywhere from $250 to $2,500 per tooth depending on the specific veneer and other relevant factors. They’re designed to be durable and can last between five and 15 years if properly maintained.
What are Veneers and Why Do You Need Them?
Dental veneers are thin shells of synthetic material that can be bonded to the front of one or more of your teeth. They cover all visible parts of a tooth, allowing them to disguise many common tooth defects and smile imperfections. They can improve the appearance of:
- Permanently or intrinsically stained teeth that do not respond to whitening treatments
- Teeth that are crooked or misshapen
- Teeth that have turned gray because of an injury
- Teeth that have structural damage, such as chips and cracks from natural wear and tear
- Teeth that sustained acid erosion due because of a diet or certain health conditions such as acid reflux
Veneers are among a number of esthetic procedures available to people who want to improve the look of their smile and face. People who choose to get them often do so as part of a series of treatments, including gum surgery, orthodontics (braces) and prosthodontics to achieve an ideal smile and look.
Types of Veneers
There are two primary types of dental veneers available: porcelain and composite.
Of the two, porcelain veneers provide the best results. They mimic well the look of natural teeth. Their pearly white color and slight shimmer allow them to match the slightly translucent appearance of tooth enamel.
Porcelain veneers last a long time—10 to 15 years in most cases. However, they can be expensive because they must be fabricated separately for every patient. You can count on visiting your dentist at least twice (once to create molds of your teeth and once for veneer for placement to get them.
If you have a smaller budget, composite veneers are an effective alternative. They’re made of the same material that many dentists use for tooth fillings.
They do not need to be pre-fabricated before placement. Instead, the dentist carefully shapes each veneer right onto the surface of the tooth, gradually building up, layer by layer, until final look is achieved. With proper care, composite veneers last five to seven years.
How Much Do Veneers Cost?
The Consumer Guide to Dentistry estimates composite veneers cost an estimated $250 to $1,500 per tooth, while porcelain veneers cost between $925 to $2,500 per tooth. The final price you will pay comes down to several factors:
- How many teeth you cover: The more teeth you include, the higher your final costs.
- Where your dentist does the work: Dental offices in major cities have higher costs to cover than office in suburban or rural locations. They may charge more for their services as a result.
- The skill of the dentist: As in many walks of life, dentists as well as veneer fabricators charge varying rates based on their level of experience, their track record of success and their efficiency (how long it will take them to do the job).
- Your insurance: Because getting veneers is considered a cosmetic procedure, dental plans rarely cover it. Sometimes there are work arounds, particularly for patients whose livelihood or career depends on their appearance (actors, celebrities, spokespeople, sales professionals, etc.). If you fit into one of those categories and your insurance still says it won’t help cover the cost, you may be able to use your out-of-pocket costs as a tax deduction. Talk to a qualified tax professional before you make any assumptions.
- Fees: Your dentist could charge any additional fees (for the office visit or for anesthesia, for example).
Dental Office Will Help
\ If you are considering getting dental veneers and want to know how much you can expect to pay, the business manager, billing manager or office manager at your dentist’s office can help. Your dental office probably has previous experience not only in veneer applications that are similar to yours, but it also is likely to have a history dealing with your dental insurance provider. This experience can help them build a pre-procedure invoice that should be accurate in the end.
Dentists are well-aware that many of their patients don’t have money on hand to pay for veneers out of pocket at the time of the procedure. Over time, many have developed payment plans to help.
If you do not think you will be able to pay the entire amount up-front, you may be able to work out such a deal to finance your veneers.
Getting Veneers Put In
The first step to getting veneers is a consultation. Your dentist will ask you about what you want to achieve with veneers and evaluate whether you are a good candidate for the procedure.
The placement process takes place on a subsequent appointment. After you are given a local anesthetic, your dentist will use either a special chemical or a handheld tool to roughen the enamel on the front of your teeth. This process is permanent, so make sure that you have carefully considered this decision before you undergo this procedure.
Once this is done, your dentist applies the veneers to your teeth. For composite veneers, this involves sculpting multiple layers of color-matched composite material onto each tooth and curing each layer with a high-intensity light. Your dentist may also use tools such as a burr or a polishing cup to refine the shape of your veneers and make them as shiny as your natural teeth.
If you want porcelain veneers, your dentist will need a mold of your teeth. Once all molds are done, the impressions will ship to a fabricator. In some cases, your dentist will use sophisticated CAD/CAM technology to fabricate your veneers on the spot.
Either way, the application process for porcelain veneers involves gluing each individual veneer to its corresponding tooth with composite resin. This ensures that you retain the ability to floss and that your new smile looks exactly the way you want it to.
4 Tips for Caring for Your Veneers
After your veneers are placed, there are several things you can do to help them last. Here are four big tips to follow:
- Practice excellent oral hygiene. The margins of your veneers are particularly vulnerable to decay, so protect them by brushing your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, flossing at least once a day, and paying regular visits to your dentist.
- Avoid foods and drinks that stain teeth. Veneers can become stained just like natural teeth, but they do not respond to whitening treatments like bleaching and abrasives. Any stains that end up on your veneers are permanent. For this reason, it is best to stay away from food and drink known to stain teeth, such as wine, tea, coffee, grape juice, tomato sauce, curries and brightly colored candies.
- Use a night guard to protect your veneers. Just as night-time teeth-grinding, biting and clenching is bad for your natural teeth, so, too, are they for veneers. If you have a history of grinding your teeth at night, you should consider getting a mouthpiece, mouthguard or bite protector. Your dentist can recommend some brands to look at.
- Don’t use your veneers to bite directly into hard foods. If you want to eat foods like apples, carrots and crusty bread, cut it up first to minimize the stress that is put on your veneers. In addition, don’t chew ice and don’t use your teeth as tools. That means not opening plastic bottles with your teeth or even biting off pesky price tags from new clothes. (Pro tip: Use fingernail cutters.)
If you take care of your veneers, they’ll last longer and make your veneer investment more worthwhile.
Porcelain Veneers – Procedure Costs & Recovery. (August 2019). Consumer Guide to Dentistry.
Bonding & Veneers. (2021). Canadian Dental Association (CDA).
Improve Your Smile with Dental Veneers. (2021). ADA PatientSmart.
Ceramic Laminate Veneers: clinical procedures with a multidisciplinary approach. (January 2017). The International Journal of Esthetic Dentistry.
The Success of Dental Veneers According To Preparation Design and Material Type. (December 2018). Macedonian Journal of Medical Sciences.