How to get your teeth prepped for veneers & why is it important?

Veneers teeth are basically coverings that are custom-made to fit over the front surface of your teeth. Their purpose is to hide stains, cracks, or any other aesthetic tooth imperfections. Dental veneers are considered as being cosmetic. They are made of high-quality material and are recommended by dentists as a quick and effective solution to cover unaesthetic-looking teeth. So how does your dentist get your teeth prepped for veneers and why is tooth preparation for veneers important? We tell you everything below!

Why is preparing teeth for veneers important?

Getting veneer prepared teeth prior to your dentist placing your dental veneers is a step that you basically cannot bypass. In order to get a precise fit and color that is adapted to your natural teeth, digital scans are necessary as a first step. After that, there will need to be tooth reduction for the veneers to blend with your natural tooth, thus making your smile look natural and real. The strength and durability of the veneer (how long do veneers last) material also depends on the prep quality. Of course, this will be factored in the cost (veneers cost)  and discussed with your dentist prior to the procedure.You can check before and after pictures of veneers here (veneers before and after) to get an idea of how natural it will look once the process is followed step by step.

Is veneer prep painful?

On the day your veneers will be placed, your dentist will administer local anesthesia. This will make the whole process painless and you should not feel any discomfort throughout. Having veneers placed is not an invasive dental procedure as it only required a removal of a thin layer of enamel.

Teeth prepared for veneers in 6 steps

How long veneers last all depend on whether you have prepped teeth for veneers. Of course, the prep is factored in the cost as well (veneers cost). Here are the steps that outline how are teeth prepped for veneers:

Veneers may require the prepping or shaping of the teeth being treated. The amount of prep work required will mainly depend on the type of veneer chosen, the position of the teeth and the method a dentist prefers to use to prepare a tooth. Prior to trimming off the enamel, the dentist and patient will decide if a local anesthetic is needed to numb the area. Teeth that require minimal preparation or that have been root canaled may allow a patient to avoid the need for anesthetic. To prepare the tooth, a dentist will reshape the surface of the tooth, which is an amount that is almost equal to the thickness of the dental veneer that is to be added to the surface of the tooth.
The dentist will take an impression or model of the tooth. The dentist may use an impression material, which starts out as a thick paste. This material is filled into a tray and then placed in the mouth. The dental assistant will most probably hold the impression tray in the mouth for a couple of minutes until the material sets.
An impression of how a patient’s teeth bite together will also be taken. The impression material will be applied to the biting surface of the top and bottom teeth. A patient will be required to bite down into the material for some minutes just until the material sets. If all the impressions are good, they will then be delivered to the dental laboratory. The veneers will be constructed in the lab. It often takes a few weeks for the dentist to get the veneers back.


Before a veneer is cemented permanently to the tooth, the dentist will have to examine its color and fit and if necessary make adjustments. To prepare the tooth for the veneer, it will have to be cleaned, polished and etched. The veneer will then be placed on the tooth. A person may have to visit a dentist again for a follow-up after some weeks.

Step 1 - Tooth preparation

This step will require a local anesthetic so that the dentist can trim the thin layer of enamel from your teeth and allow the veneers to later be bonded.

Step 2 - Determining the shade

The dentist will use a shade guide and choose a veneer shade that is adapted to your skin color and natural teeth color. This is to make your smile as natural as possible.

Step 3 - Taking a tooth impression

After trimming the enamel off your teeth, the dentist will have to take an impression of your tooth, surrounding teeth and your gums. This copy of your mouth will be used to fabricate the veneers in a lab.

Step 4 - Temporary veneer placement / Testing

This will be decided by your dentist. If you need a temporary veneer placed, it will be done after taking the impression, as it takes 1 to 2 weeks for the lab to produce the actual veneers. If you do not require a temporary veneers, the 4th step will be for the fit of your actual veneers (that will be sent and done by the lab) to be checked before being placed.

Step 5 - Bonding

This is the step in which the actual veneers are placed. After cleaning and preparing the surface of your teeth and polishing it, veneers will be placed.

Step 6 - Follow-up appointment

Dentists will always ask patients to come in a week after their veneers are placed to check the gums and how the veneers are looking.

How long does it take to prepare a tooth for a veneer?

Referring to the whole process above, the time it takes for the dental veneers process from consultation to the final procedure is around 3 weeks in most dental clinics. Your dentist will give you an overall cost for the whole procedure before you begin any procedure (veneers cost). The most important step is getting your teeth prepped for veneers properly.

How many teeth do you shave for veneers?

Dentists will typically shave 0.5 mm off your tooth to have porcelain veneers placed, and a little less to have composite veneers placed.

Do you have to get your teeth grinded down for veneers?

A straight answer to this question would be yes, unless we are talking about no-prep veneers. The dentist will have to shave enamel off the teeth for composite and porcelain veneers. It is important to know that once enamel is shaved off the tooth, it cannot regrow and is permanently gone.

Key Takeaways

Getting your teeth prepped for veneers is an important step in the dental veneers procedure. It is, of course, factored in the overall cost (veneers cost) and affects how long your veneers will last (how long do veneers last). For an idea of how your teeth will look like with veneers, you can check before and after pictures here (veneers before and after).

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