Well, good news – YOU DON’T HAVE TO!


I practice two types of veneers, something I will call traditional veneers and something called addition veneers or addition ceramics.  Let’s take a look at both types and I’ll let you be the judge.



Traditional Veneers After

Photo: Preparation of the teeth for Traditional Veneers


These are much more common.  They require between .3-.6 millimeters of preparation.  That is less than one millimeter!  I’d like to call this “reshaping the enamel” rather than “shaving the teeth”.  The average person wears down between 2-4 millimeters of their own tooth structure just by using their teeth everyday, so .3-.6 millimeters is really nothing…


The idea behind good veneers is to utilize your own tooth structure to give the veneers vitality and a lifelike quality.  These types of veneers last between 15-20 years if done properly and cared for properly.  If someone suggests you need crowns for some reason, I’d question “why?”  Crowns take significantly more tooth structure off.

recap 1


veneers on teeth model

Photo: Addition Veneers fitted to patient’s teeth model


These can be used less frequently than traditional veneers.  It’s usually indicated when patients have gaps, small teeth or teeth that need to come forward.  They can, however, completely replace any situation that would have previously called for bonding in the past.


The addition veneers or ceramics (also called Prepless Veneers) are much more durable and lifelike a material.  They have a closer representation to enamel.


The good news? They require absolutely NO preparation and the life expectancy is longer than traditional veneers by about 5 years.

recap 2


Prepless Veneers – see how thin they are?

veneer red
veneer sticks


  • Obvious pro?  They make your teeth instantly perfect.  We can do pretty amazing transformations with veneers, both to your smile and your overall facial appearance.
  • It’s a quick and virtually painless procedure.   There is no downtime for physical recovery.
  • There is little, if any, tooth reduction.



  • They’re expensive!  The average mouth full of veneers can run from 25-80k dollars, but obviously it’s a case-by-case basis.
  • They are permanent.  Once you get veneers, you cannot revert to your original teeth, even if you choose the addition ceramics.  Once they are bonded the only way to get them off is to drill them off.  You actually have to go to the dentist’s office for extended periods of time, usually 2 three-hour visits to complete the procedure.
  • There is an adjustment period for some people – a general getting used to the newness period that can stretch from a day to a month.  (If they are done properly, don’t worry, they will always go back to feeling like your own teeth).

Before and after shots of a successful application of traditional veneers and two prepless veneers to cover the canines:

After combo of Trad and Prepless

So there you have it, an honest breakdown of the myth of “shaving” teeth to receive veneers, it’s just not the case!