Expert Doctor

No Prep Dental Veneers

There is ALMOST no such thing as reversible, non-permanent dental veneer.  A Porcelain veneer is placed over the teeth to improve the appearance of the teeth. When the patient chooses veneers, it is for a variety of reasons:

  • Fix spaces in the teeth
  • Fix a size discrepancy in the arch
  • Repair teeth that are sticking out
  • Cover discolored teeth
  • Redo work that has already been done

Whenever a dental procedure is performed, it is usually irreversible. The non-prep veneers are irreversible in the sense that once the veneers are bonded in place, it is very difficult for the veneers to be removed. If the patient wants the no prep veneer removed, it must be done very delicately as not to remove tooth structure.

If the teeth are not perfectly in alignment because of spaces, crowding, or rotated teeth, patients may choose to have braces. Invisalign or traditional braces can be used. Braces line up the arch with a nice beautiful curve and a patient might choose to put no-prep veneers over their teeth. Veneers can be as thin as 0.3-mm.



The candidacy for no-prep veneers is limited but can be performed in certain cases such as peg laterals, and filling in spaces. If patients have teeth that are not in alignment then treating first with braces can be very helpful for the final outcome.



Dentists try to be as conservative as possible when prepping teeth. If they do not prep the teeth and place veneers over the top of them, the teeth are going to look bigger because they are adding to the thickness of the teeth.

A good use for no-prep veneers is when somebody has peg laterals or underdeveloped or small laterals. The veneer is used to fill in the space and create a more pleasing appearance.

A smaller maxilla (upper arch) may have spaces that need to be filled. This tends to be a conservative procedure. If it is not done right along the gum line, it will get too thick and irritate the gum line.



When patients have dental veneers done, they come in for prep or no prep veneers. They take an impression that is sent to a lab and scanned by a computer. Some dentists make the veneers in their office, but most send it to a lab where a computer will scan the impression and mix the veneers. There may be two or three weeks between the first and second appointments.

During the second appointment, the patient’s trial veneers are removed and the final restoration is tried in for patient approval. The provisional’s are made of a composite material. This is called a smile preview. If the patient likes them then he or she gets them. If they do not like them, the veneers are sent back to the lab to get tweaked.

No-prep veneers are advertised as needing no novocaine and no prep. This can be accomplished when there is almost no drilling done to the teeth.



Dental bonding is done with composite material. Dental bonding can change the size of the teeth but it tends not to last as long as porcelain. When a patient has very dark teeth, it is much easier to mask a dark color with veneers. It is easier to change the shape and size with veneers than it is with composite. There are usually two office visits when a person is doing porcelain so it takes longer but the results can be exquisite.

Complications Usually porcelain veneers do not come off. They might chip but they do not stain. People that grind their teeth at night might need to wear a night guard. Also, it is possible they might break if the patient suffers a fall.



If the patient’s oral hygiene is good, the veneers can last for a long time. However, they will not stay in good shape if the maintenance is not there. The number one factor of how long the veneers last is the patient's oral hygiene and diet. The diet is critical. If somebody drinks too much soda, coffee, or tea with sugar, their dentistry is going to fail.

If a patient has veneers done, have braces or spend the money on orthodontics. However, some people are happy to have Invisalign done especially if it is a long term result. Braces themselves cost $6,000 or $7,000 on top of doing the veneers. The cost can be a factor in the patient’s decision. Sometimes when orthodontics is done, patients choose not to have veneers done.

Another factor in deciding whether or not to do veneers is what is acceptable to the patient. Do they want to have their teeth minimally prepared, or are they willing to have more tooth structure taken off because the tooth is not in alignment. Once a tooth is prepped it is irreversible.

The patient needs to understand that veneers are rarely reversible. To remove the no-prep, the dentist will need to carefully grind them off, so it is not an easy reversible situation. Reversible is something dentists can get away with doing a composite. Putting a dot of bonding on a tooth to hold the composite in place for a couple of days so people can preview their smile is reversible with no drilling.



The price for no-prep veneers can range from $1,500-$3,000 depending on where the patient is located. The dentists in New York charge more money compared to smaller towns because their overhead is higher.



Patients who are ideal candidates for no-prep porcelain veneers are rather limited. Much of it depends on the alignment of the teeth as well as how much the patient wants to spend. Having a consultation with an experienced doctor is a good first step in determining whether veneers or composites is the best option for the patient.


Written by Cosmetic Town Editorial Team- MA

Based on an exclusive interview with Allyson Hurley, DDS, MAGD, AAACD, CPP in Bedminster, NJ