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The Myth of No-Prep Veneers

What do these pictures tell you?

Whiter, larger teeth. Actually too-white, but

still improved looks. Not much else.

I couldn’t find out:

1. Is this healthy for gum tissue?

         2. What maintenance is required?

         3. Will veneers have to be replaced?  When and why?

         4. Can I still bite into anything?  (No)

 There are two main concept flaws with “no-prep” veneers:

         1. The sides of teeth MUST be reduced:

                  a) to avoid the finished veneers being too bulky (over-contour is bad for gum tissue long-term), and

                  b) to have a significantly lighter shade.  Too-thin veneers can’t mask dark teeth.

         2. A groove on the front of the tooth is REQUIRED for a healthy finish line at the gum level.  A no-prep finish line veneer is jagged and leaves rough cement; both are irritating to gum tissue.

Seek out a dentist who helps you fully consider all treatment options in harmony with YOUR values.  Be sure to consider the maintenance necessary and the possibility of replacing all veneers completely in 15 years.

Getting veneers to slightly improve already good looks is short-sighted.  Consider bleaching and recontouring first, because neither requires tooth reduction.

I place excellent and healthy veneers when necessary.  They are the right treatment when done meticulously, correcting spaces, shapes, fractures and very discolored teeth.  For veneers to be healthy and predictably last as long as a crown (18-20 years or more), preparation is ALWAYS required.  No-prep is a myth when health and longevity are considered.  (Actually for looks, too.) The most advertised no-prep veneer laboratory required shortening all lower teeth 1 millimeter.  That is OK for a conventional porcelain veneer, but 100% too much for a veneer claiming to require “absolutely no preparation.”

My highest guiding principle is: PRESERVE AND PROTECT WHAT WE DID NOT CREATE.  Hold the health of your teeth as your highest priority. Don’t get your teeth reduced if you don’t have to.  No-Prep veneers are not the answer.


W Bryon Satterfield, DDS, MAGD General dentist in The Woodlands with excellent care, skill and judgment from decades of experience in precision practice and teaching. Things work! 281-363-1571

Visit his website: docsatterfield.com