Expert Doctor

Minimally Prepped or No Prep Veneers

A minimally prepped veneer (dental veneers), usually fabricated with porcelain, can actually mean a number of different things. They can be made directly in the mouth with composites by a dentist, a one appointment process. These restorations are called direct veneers. An indirect veneer likely means it is fabricated in a laboratory and then placed in the mouth. These restorations are the most common and most recognized by consumers. This restoration is used on the front of the tooth to enhance color, size, and shape.



When veneers became a viable, long term restoration choice for dentists, often more tooth structure was removed than we now know was necessary.  With new materials and techniques, dentists can now save good tooth structure while meeting the patient’s request for an aesthetic result. Changing the size and shape of the teeth is the greatest benefit of no prep or minimally prepped veneers.  



A partial prep is like a custom veneer procedure where the final decision is based on the patient’s tooth structure as well as the skill of the dentist. Also, the lab technician needs to know the final aesthetic result need, i.e. covering dark teeth, bringing teeth forward, or making the teeth longer. For example, the veneer needs to be made thicker if the patient has dark teeth because placing a thin veneer makes the tooth show more. The dentist also needs to figure out what type of porcelain to use such as a more opaque or translucent material.



Partial veneers are more difficult to make than a regular veneer. Their success is highly dependent on the technique and skill set of the dentist and the laboratory technician. These restorations, done correctly, have a great track record and should be a long term solution barring trauma or any of the other factors that cause tooth decay or loss.



This restoration option is not recommended when teeth are very, very dark, broken, decayed, rotated, or protruding.  Regularly prepped veneers or orthodontics would be indicated in these cases.



The normal amount of time between visiting the dentist and getting the veneers is usually seven to ten days.  There is really no downtime.



If the patient comes in with sensitivity to start, there may be some sensitivity issues. However, as this is not a full prep and often no prep at all, sensitivity should be minimal.  Occasionally, the teeth may become less sensitive if the veneer is being used to cover erosion.



Patients should care for teeth with veneers as they would any other teeth.  They should brush and floss daily, and visit a dentist and hygienist regularly.



A minimally prepped veneer is a phrase that can mean a variety of dental veneers. They are all designed to improve the look and appearance of certain teeth on a patient. Anyone interested in having veneers should consult with an experienced dentist to determine the type of veneer and the amount of prep necessary to achieve the results desired by the patient.  A source of dentists familiar with these types of restoration can be found on the website for the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD).


Written by Cosmetic Town Editorial Team- MA

Based on an exclusive interview with David Baird, DDS in Bellevue, WA