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Porcelain Vs. Prepless Veneers

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Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

Everyone deserves a naturally healthy smile—but sometimes, aesthetic issues can get in the way. That’s why several people turn to veneers, which are strong tooth coverings that can help people who suffer from tooth decay, chipping, gaps, staining, or an uneven bite. While there are pros and cons to explore related to what material you choose for your veneers, this article looks at two types of veneers—porcelain and prepless—that mainly differ in the invasiveness of the placement procedure.

What Are Veneers?

Veneers are strong yet thin shells, typically made of porcelain or a resin composite material that attaches to the front of your teeth. These tooth-colored coverings have several benefits: they’re an alternative to removing teeth and don’t require anesthesia; they’re natural-looking and last for up to ten years if you maintain proper care. So, what’s the difference between porcelain vs. prepless veneers? There are a few factors, but primarily the main difference lies in the placement procedure. 

Porcelain Veneers

Traditional porcelain veneers are composed of several thin layers of ceramic material bonded together to form a strong shell. Your dental professional will remove a small amount of your tooth’s enamel (less than a millimeter) to create room for the veneer. They will then use a light-sensitive resin on top of your tooth to bond to the porcelain and finally place the shell on the tooth. The entire process takes place over three appointments, which involves a consultation, trimming your teeth down and creating a mold, and finally bonding the veneers to your teeth. 

Prepless Veneers

Now that you’re familiar with porcelain veneers, what are prepless veneers? While they’re also composed of porcelain, prepless veneers only require your dentist to file your teeth just a little to prepare them for adhering to the shell. Essentially, creating less "prep" work for your dentist. In some cases, they do not have to remove any of the tooth’s surface. Thus, the placement procedure can be quicker and more comfortable than that of traditional veneers. While the process is not as simple as, say, press-on nails, it’s still much faster than conventional veneer placement. In fact, with the right technology, your dental professional can design and place your veneers in one visit. However, if you’re getting multiple veneers placed, it may take a few visits.

There are several advantages to prepless veneers: the procedure is minimally invasive, pain-free, and perhaps most importantly, you’re able to preserve your tooth’s enamel. Enamel creates a strong adhesion to the resin, which creates a stronger veneer bond overall—ensuring maximum durability.

What’s The Right Choice For Me?

Your candidacy for traditional and prepless veneers comes down to your dental needs. If your teeth are severely damaged, you should probably consider traditional veneers. However, it’s best to discuss your needs with your dental professional, and they’ll point you in the right direction. 

If you’re wondering if the cost might be a deciding factor, both types of veneers cost around the same, with the price falling between $925 to $2,500 per tooth. The cost per tooth can vary by hundreds of dollars depending on where you live, the case’s complexity, and your dentist's fees. Since veneers are considered cosmetic restorations, dental insurance usually does not cover them. An exception may be, for example, if they are performed as a restorative procedure to repair a broken tooth.

Caring for Your Veneers

Caring for your veneers is extremely important. While veneers can last for years, they’re still susceptible to wear and tear—and because chipped porcelain is not fixable, you’ll have to replace a damaged veneer completely. Veneers are also susceptible to staining, just like real teeth. Stains appear on the surface of veneers after regular consumption of drinks like tea, coffee, wine. Also, smokers are likely to develop yellowish to brownish stains on their veneers. Luckily, if you treat your veneers the same way you treat your regular teeth, you’ll be in great shape. Beyond avoiding biting hard objects or ripping open packages with your teeth, be sure to brush twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and clean between your teeth daily with floss, water flossers, or another interdental cleaning device. If stains and discoloration develop, schedule a consultation with your dentist to explore your options.

You deserve a bright, confident smile. And with today’s advancements, you now have plenty of options for how to address your teeth’ imperfections. Whether you choose traditional veneers, prepless veneers, or another type of dental procedure, know that taking a step toward improving your teeth will boost your confidence and help you smile more often.

Oral Care Center articles are reviewed by an oral health medical professional. This information is for educational purposes only. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist, physician or other qualified healthcare provider. 

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