How Much Enamel You’ll Give Up for Porcelain Veneers

Maybe you have a friend who got porcelain veneers. Perhaps you’ve read about them online or seen pictures of Hollywood stars with them. You know they look great, but you’ve also heard that the procedure is more invasive than other cosmetic work. Although you would like your smile to be just as beautiful, you are hesitant about making permanent changes to your teeth for the sake of aesthetics.

If you’re not familiar with this procedure, it can seem a little intense with enamel being shaved off. However, when you understand more about the treatment process and why and how much enamel is removed, you can feel more confident about your own smile transformation with veneers.

What Happens in the Veneer Process

Getting veneers requires at least two separate appointments. The first is the one that involves the most work. After you and your cosmetic dentist determine to move forward with veneers, they may give you a local anesthetic and then remove a tiny portion of enamel, which is the white, protective layer, from the front surfaces of your teeth.

Then, your dental team takes impressions of your teeth and sends this information to their dental lab. Before you leave, they also place temporary veneers over the teeth to protect them while you wait. Once the custom veneers are finished, you go back in to have the dentist attach the durable veneers over your teeth, instantly transforming their appearance.

Why Enamel Needs to Be Removed

While the thought of permanently taking enamel away from your teeth may seem drastic at first, it’s necessary in order for the veneers to fit properly. In other words, these thin coverings still wouldn’t look natural or sit flush without a little enamel being shaved off.

If you don’t like the idea of doing this to your teeth, you can take advantage of another treatment called cosmetic bonding, which is sometimes called composite resin veneers. Basically, your dentist applies a coating of composite resin (the same material used for cavities) without altering your natural enamel at all. However, this solution tends to be less stain resistant than porcelain veneers as well as less durable.

How Much Enamel Is Removed

Although enamel does need to be taken away for veneers, the good news is that it typically requires just a small amount—around a couple of millimeters. This makes sufficient room for the veneers to be bonded over the teeth while looking completely natural.
In the end, porcelain veneers may involve shaving away some enamel, but most patients, including many stars in Hollywood, find the results are certainly worth the sacrifice in the long run! If you are still uncertain about whether veneers could be the right solution for you, talk to your cosmetic dentist to determine what the best treatment is for your smile.

About the Author

Dr. Kimberley Capua has been practicing dentistry in the Carrollton area for more than 30 years. During her career, she has earned the proper training and qualifications to provide sedation for anxious patients and offers this option to those who may be hesitant about veneers or any other treatment. To see if you are a good candidate for porcelain veneers, you can schedule an appointment with Dr. Capua at her practice by calling the office or clicking here.

A resident of Texas since 1970, Dr. Capua has lived and practiced in the North Dallas / Carrollton area since 1991. She earned her dental degree from Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas, graduating in 1989. Prior to becoming a dentist, Dr. Capua practiced as a dental hygienist for five years. Dr. Kimberley Capua has been a dentist in Carrollton since 1989. She is married with one son and enjoys traveling, museums, music, skiing, and boating. Her affiliations include the American Dental Assiciation, the Texas Dental Association, and Dallas County Dental Society. Dr. Capua performs sedation dentistry and is nitrous oxide certified.