Instant change to the teeth in the smile zone painlessly

Working as a cosmetic dentist, many patients ask me, "What are no-prep veneers?" No-prep veneers are "minimal or noninvasive veneers" that require little or no tooth reduction; this type of veneer focuses only on tooth enamel(front surface) for minimal removal and installation requiring less tooth preparation. In short, no-prep veneers are an alternative to traditional porcelain veneers(photo below shows the patient's right-hand side with no-prep veneers try-in, and her left-hand side is her natural teeth).

In contrast, traditional porcelain veneers are much thicker, requiring some grinding of your original tooth structure.

no prep veneers
No-Prep Veneers Improve Your Smile Painlessly

No-prep veneers vs. traditional veneers

Is there any material difference between regular veneers and no-prep veneers?

Material-wise, there is no difference between regular veneers, minimum prep veneers, and no-prep veneers. However, no-prep veneers are always thinner than traditional veneers, so we tend to use a more robust material that is usually opaque, especially if we need to mask the dark color of the original teeth.

We will need opaque material, which is unnatural. In general, when you try less prep and get a natural-looking result (translucency), everything goes more technique sensitive. It is more challenging and requires more experience for both cosmetic dentists and lab technicians.

Treatment Steps

Patients come to the office to have an evaluation of their teeth. We take impressions, send them to the lab, and in about four weeks, we receive the veneers and place them. But the most unusual process of this procedure is that we don't use a needle or anesthesia to numb the area we are working on and no drilling. This means no pain and scary feelings!

Who should get no-prep veneers?

These days, more people would rather have no-prep veneers, such as Lumineers. Why? Because it is supposed to be painless due to no drilling and no needles. If you are the right candidate, you can get a fantastic result with straighter and whiter smiles. In some cases, you might get an excellent result to improve discoloration caused by tetracycline, which you cannot whiten by tooth whitening. However, the chances are very slim.

No prep veneers are simply adding to your existing teeth. When you add or bond something over your existing teeth, your teeth will get thicker and longer. You cannot make your teeth smaller, and you cannot bring your teeth inwards by adding porcelain. After all, you can't change the law of physics. If your concern is to make your teeth longer, bigger, and more outward, a no-prep veneer is for you. As far as changing the color of your teeth, because all no-prep veneers are an add-on, you cannot make them too thick, meaning it is difficult to mask the dark tooth color and give translucency.

To do so, you need thicker veneers. When trying to hide dark colors, you have to make the veneers opaque white so that the light does not go through, making veneers solid white and look like temporaries.

We always like to give our patients different treatment options, but when it comes to the tetracycline stain, regular veneers (traditional porcelain veneers) are the best option to get a natural-looking result.

The drawback of no-prep veneers

Non-prep veneers are mainly for people with small teeth, gapped teeth, or short teeth. People with tiny teeth don't need to shave off their teeth to make space for the veneers. However, No-prep veneers always add volume to the existing teeth, making teeth look expanded or enlarged for people with regular-sized teeth. Adding a layer of veneer thickness to the existing teeth without shaving off the teeth surface will give more mass and volume, resulting in a rather odd-looking outcome. When people with regular-sized teeth do not want to shave off the tooth surface, they will have larger-looking teeth. During the consultation, we analyze your teeth' size and position and the ratio between your mouth and teeth to determine what type of veneers are suitable for you to get the best results. Usually, it will be a combination of regular veneers, minimum prep veneers, and no-prep veneers.

No-prep veneers or minimally invasive ones are not the option to correct the discoloration caused by tetracycline. If you have light brown or pale gray discoloration of teeth caused by antibiotic intake, We don't recommend No-prep or minimally invasive veneers. Getting porcelain veneers is the only way to get rid of that gray discoloration with tetracycline staining.

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Dr. Shimizu is an accredited member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. There are 419 dental professionals worldwide (Only four in Houston) as of 2022 who have achieved this prestigious honor.