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There are several minimal preparation and “no-prep” ceramic veneer options – including Lumineers, Durathin and Vivaneers, among others – available for cosmetic dentistry patients seeking an alternative to traditional porcelain dental veneers and for whom composite bonding is not an option they or their dentist wish to pursue. However, not all veneer cases lend themselves to no-prep or minimal preparation procedures.

Prep or no-prep: While both are popular options, they also come with their list of pro’s and con’s.

Let’s take a closer look at the two options so you can determine which is going to be a better fit for your smile today, tomorrow and down the road.

What Are Porcelain Veneers?

Porcelain veneers are generally regarded as the better long-term solution for improving the appearance of teeth that are misshapen or stained. Porcelain veneers typically maintain their color over several years, however they require the removal of healthy enamel and the procedure is also irreversible. Once the procedure has been performed it cannot be reversed since the healthy enamel has already been removed from your teeth. Porcelain provides a durable and permanent option that is easy to maintain with a reduced possibility to chip or break.

Advantages of Porcelain Veneers?

Veneers offer the following advantages:

  • They provide a natural tooth appearance.
  • Gum tissue tolerates porcelain well.
  • Porcelain veneers are stain resistant.
  • The color of a porcelain veneer can be selected such that it makes dark teeth appear whiter.
  • Veneers offer a conservative approach to changing a tooth’s color and shape; veneers generally don’t require the extensive shaping prior to the procedure that crowns do, yet offer a stronger, more aesthetic alternative.

Disadvantages of Porcelain Veneers?

The downside to dental veneers include:

  • The process is not reversible.
  • Veneers are more costly than composite resin bonding.
  • Veneers are usually not repairable should they chip or crack.
  • Because enamel has been removed, your tooth may become more sensitive to hot and cold foods and beverages.
  • Veneers may not exactly match the color of your other teeth. Also, the veneer’s color cannot be altered once in place. If you plan on whitening your teeth, you need to do so before getting veneers.

What Are No-Prep Veneers?

Like traditional veneers, the minimal preparation and “no-prep” veneers are bonded to the front surface of the teeth and can easily change the size, shape and color of the tooth. However, minimal and “no-prep” veneers do not require a large reduction in tooth structure. A small number of cases can be placed without reducing any tooth structure at all, while many other cases require only minimal reduction of tooth structure.

The placement of traditional veneers often a more extensive removal of tooth structure sometimes beyond the enamel or outermost layer of the tooth. On rare occasions “no prep” veneers can be placed directly on teeth with no reduction of tooth structure and little to no anesthetic. More often, patients will require some tooth modifications. These cases can be addressed with minimal preparation veneers. Typically tooth modifications are minimal and affect only the enamel layer of the tooth. Further reduction into the dentin or layer of the tooth beneath the enamel might be necessary depending on the condition and position of the teeth being treated.

Advantages of No-Prep Veneers

A growing number of people are uncomfortable with the idea of permanently modifying healthy teeth, stripping them of enamel as such no-prep veneers provide several advantages including:

  • Hiding dental imperfections just as conventional porcelain veneers would. No-prep veneers are still effective for masking cracked, chipped, misshapen or stained teeth.
  • A procedure that is completely non-invasive and does not require anesthetics with a reduced healing time or discomfort.
  • Reduced likelihood of sensitivity to hot or cold beverages or food since no enamel is removed.
  • Immediate results without the need for multiple office visits or temporary veneers.

Disadvantages of No-Prep Veneers

Before rejoicing over the benefits of no-prep veneers, keep in mind that there are still a whole host of reasons to go with traditional permanent veneers instead.

The main problem that comes with no-prep veneers is that they only really work well with certain smiles. If your teeth are quite small, very even, and very straight, no-prep veneers are great. However, the fact that they are thin often means that discoloration is not very well hidden, and often a shadow will show through. This is unattractive, and it can result in the need for additional surface material. This will make the teeth appear bulky and unnatural.

No-prep veneers can also look a little bulky if your teeth are quite large, and they will do very little to fix a crooked smile. Additionally, it’s often hard to find a dentist who is trained to fit no-prep veneers. Ultimately, the reason you’re getting veneers is to reinvent your smile, and traditional permanent veneers get that job done more effectively than no-prep veneers.

In my own professional opinion, I’d have to say there are very few advantages to no-prep veneers. If you are going to get a veneer in the first place, it is highly unlikely you will ever remove it unless you are getting a new one to replace it. And if you are going to go through the expense and time to have veneers done, you want to make sure it is done well and looks good.

Final Thoughts

With veneers, it is very important and advantageous to minimally prep the tooth, and in some cases not to prep at all, since bonding porcelain is so much stronger than bonding to the dentin underneath.

However, how much to prep and whether or not to prep should be determined by the final desired outcome, color, size, shape and position of teeth versus the starting situation. This is determined before any work is started and any changes are done on the teeth. To see how this is done, look for an upcoming blog on the cosmetic work-up procedure. I will describe in detail the process we go through to ensure your teeth will look the way you expect and how we can both be confident of  the final esthetic result.

Schedule Your Cosmetic Consultation with Dr. J

Anacapa Dental Art Institute is proud of their dedicated service to Ventura County. Lead by world-renowned top cosmetic prosthodontist Dr. Jivraj and his expert staff, Anacapa has the expertise and facility to handle whatever your cosmetic dental situation may be. Whether it’s a tooth whitening or a full mouth reconstruction, expect nothing but some of the best dental care Ventura County has available.

Call today for a private consultation. Renew your smile, renew your life.

About Your Oxnard, CA Cosmetic Dentist:

We look forward to providing families with exceptional care and advanced treatment options. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Jivraj contact our Oxnard, CA, dental office today by calling 805-988-3317. Our office at 2821 N Ventura Road, Oxnard, CA 93036 welcomes patients in and around Oxnard, CA, including Santa Barbara, Woodland Hills, Ventura, and the surrounding Southern California communities.

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Anacapa Dental Art Institute

We’re proud to help everyone achieve the smile of their dreams. We’re located in Oxnard and serve the surrounding communities including Santa Barbara, Ventura, Camarillo, Thousand Oaks, Woodland Hills, Simi Valley, Calabasas, Port Hueneme, Malibu, and Westlake Village.