Are veneers permanent?

Are veneers permanent? Answered and explained

One definition of permanent is everlasting. Depending on the type and brand, dental veneers typically last up to 15 years, so they are not permanent. However, the process involved in placing veneers is permanent, which means once you’ve had them placed, they are not reversible unless you opt for a special kind.

Feeling confused yet? If so, let’s break it down nicely and make it easy for you. 

There are two main types of veneers: porcelain and composite.

Porcelain is not reversible and, therefore, permanent

Porcelain veneers are often referred to as traditional veneers, and to be placed, they require the etching of the tooth’s enamel to adhere successfully.

Typically, the amount of enamel removed in this procedure is equivalent to the size of the veneer (and it does not require shaving down the entire tooth).

However, as enamel removal cannot be reversed, this means that if you opt for traditional porcelain veneers, you’ll have to have them for life.

composite veneers vs porcelain veneers photo

But not all veneers are permanent

The veneer market is vast, and non-permanent veneers exist (in several forms). The newest, most popular type of non-permanent veneers include composite veneers, which use a composite resin material sculpted directly onto the tooth in layers instead of being bonded to the tooth, which means no enamel removal is necessary.

Composite veneers are not your only option, though

Composite veneers are popular because they’re cheap, applied in one appointment and suitable for a wide range of cases and tooth problems.

But they’re not the only no-prep, reversible veneers on the market.

No-prep versions of porcelain veneers exist, which require no enamel removal, drilling or injections with brands like Ultrathin, Durathin and Lumineers.

These veneers are thinner, more translucent, and consequently more natural-looking. Because they preserve the tooth’s natural structure, they can often be more expensive than traditional types of veneers.

composite veneer packages

Learn the cost of no-prep veneers:

Considerations to make first

Most patients opt for porcelain veneers, which last longer and look natural. If you opt for the traditional kind, which requires some preparation, you’ll have to commit for life (even if they’re minimal prep). This means you’ll always need to have veneers of some sort because the underlying enamel, which protects your teeth, is exposed, which will make the teeth very sensitive without something like a cap or shell to protect them.

It’s important to remember and acknowledge that traditional porcelain veneers need replacing every 10 to 15 years and are not easy to repair if they become damaged. This means you’ll likely need to replace a veneer if something goes wrong.

Once the process for porcelain veneers has begun, there’s no turning back, so make sure you want them before you progress.