Do Teeth Get Shaved for Veneers?

I have a small space between my two front teeth. I wore braces for a while and now the space has come back open. The orthodontist told me that I might need to get it bonded, and referred me to a dentist who performs that. My insurance will not pay for the two veneers that I need. The dentist told me that I could get something like a veneer, but not a crown. He would shave down only 20% of the teeth then put a thin layer of porcelain over my teeth. What is this? I am getting confused as it sounds like a crown to me. Please help!

Doctor Answers 7

Sounds like a partial veneer

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It is difficult to say what the dentist is referring to without seeing you. However it sounds as though the dentist will be placing veneers.

The term veneer refers to the placement (through the process of bonding) of thin porcelain over natural teeth. This applies even if only a small portion of the tooth will be covered.

In order to place veneers a thin layer of tooth structure is removed to accommodate the veneers so that the teeth do not look bulky or over contoured. In some cases, no tooth structure is needed to be removed if the goal is to add more tooth structure or close spaces.

Manhattan Dentist

Get a second opinion and cosmetic wax up before veneers

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It sounds like a second and maybe a third opinion would be indicated.

Prior to starting work, a cosmetic wax up would be indicated to reassure and ease your mind with regards to the final result and the actual procedure needed.

Benjamin S. Fiss, DDS
Chicago Dentist

Yes...and No... it depends

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Veneers are very conservative. I always explain to people that we'll (ATLANTA DENTAL SPA) only remove tooth structure where we need to. For instance, if a tooth is already bulky- you wouldn't want to add more bulk to it, right??! (i.e. the thickness of the veneer). It is important to realize that the more experience the cosmetic dentist is in doing porcelain veneers or smile makeovers [potentially] the more conservative they can be with your teeth. In addition, request a diagnostic wax-up to be done on your teeth prior to having any work done. Then you can 'design' your smile in wax before any contouring of the teeth is performed. The diagnostic wax-up will also give the performing dentist a "road map" on how to contour and prepare the teeth for veneers. Begin with end in mind :-)

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Another option

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Did your orthodontist give you the option of wearing braces again to close the space. This might be the most conservative option for your needs. After treatment you would need to wear a retainer (fixed or removable). 

You might be able to get the space closed with dental bonding or composite if the space is very small.

The other option as your dentist already described is to remove a small amount of tooth and bond the veneers to your front teeth. What you need to realize is that this will make your front teeth wider than before. 

A crown goes all the way around your tooth 360 degrees. A veneer only goes on the front. Hope this helps you out.

Sylvan Fain, DDS
Miami Dentist

Minimal reduction required for Veneers

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The goal of veneering teeth is to be as conservative as possible. While some tooth structure is altered, it is replaced with porcelain. If planned and bonded well, it should last a very long time.

A crown covers the entire tooth, all the way around (360°), while a veneer is usually just the front and maybe sides of the tooth.

Often, small gaps can just have some material bonded in the gap, so no veneering needed. An experienced cosmetic dentist would know if that was appropriate for you and your situation.

The answer to your question is yes, teeth get shaved for veneers. Not very much, but some.

Most times using porcelain veneers does require minimal tooth reduction.

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Unfortunately most of the time a porcelain veneer will require some tooth reduction. By far it is one of the most conservative procedures we do when fabricating restorations made of porcelain. The reason for this is because if we just added porcelain to the front of your tooth without first compensating for its minimal thickness, the end result might look bulky and unnatural.

As an alternative for the space that returned after braces is to again consider an orthodontic alternative which will preserve all of your natural tooth structure and close the space. Be aware that whether you opt to treat with orthodontics or veneers you should consider wearing a retainer at night to insure that the space does not return.

Michael J. Rechter, DDS
Long Island City Dentist

Options for space between teeth

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If you had braces and a space reopened, there may be factors why this "rebound" happened. Before bonding or veneers are placed the underlying cause for this space opening should be found. Is it a low frenum attachment? Is your bite in the way your lower teeth hit the upper teeth? Was a retainer worn?

Please discuss this with your dentist first .

Jennifer Jablow, DDS
New York Dentist

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.