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Traditional vs. No-Prep Veneers: How to Choose

by | Jun 3, 2021

Veneers fix the appearance of broken, chipped, misshapen, or severely colored teeth to create the perfect smile. These tooth-like shells attach to the front surface of your teeth and look just like your natural teeth.

Veneers are an affordable way to improve the cosmetic appeal of your teeth, at just $800 – $2,500 per tooth. The results are long-lasting, too, with the typical veneer lasting many years.

There are two main types of veneers: traditional and no-prep. The two types of veneers are quite different in that they involve other procedures and present their own benefits and drawbacks. Understanding the difference between the two can help you determine whether traditional veneers or no-prep veneers are right for you.

Traditional Veneers

Traditional veneers replace the unappealing look of damaged or discolored teeth with a more pleasing aesthetic

These veneers require intensive prep work to ensure that your veneers look and feel great. Your dentist starts by making room for the veneers by removing a small amount of enamel. To do this, your dentist uses special tools to grind away about 0.5mm of enamel, which is about the thickness of a fingernail. In some cases, dentists must grind down to the tooth’s pulp, which is the layer of tissue situated just beneath the enamel. Preparing the tooth usually requires local anesthesia to help control discomfort.

Because they require the removal of a substantial amount of enamel, traditional veneers are essentially permanent.



No-Prep Veneers

No-prep veneers require less preparation in that the dentist must remove only a minimal amount of enamel before adhering the veneers to your teeth. No-prep veneers are thinner than traditional veneers, and they are somewhat like contact lenses in that they cover only the front of your tooth. Because they require less preparation, no-prep veneers do not require anesthesia.



Traditional vs. No-Prep Veneers

While traditional veneers are more common than no-prep veneers, both are gaining popularity in recent years, primarily due to increased selfies, social media, and video conferencing. Both traditional and no-prep veneers create attractive, uniform smiles in which the teeth are consistent in color and shape. Despite these similarities between traditional and no-prep veneers, there are differences between the two approaches to cosmetic dentistry.

Traditional veneers are a more permanent solution to cosmetically unappealing teeth, for example. The porcelain shells used in traditional veneers are thicker, and therefore more resilient. Traditional veneers can last for 10 years or longer. These veneers require extensive preparation, so the process takes longer than with no-prep veneers. You will need to go to your dentist twice: once to prepare your teeth and another to adhere the veneers to the surface of your teeth.

The extensive removal of enamel also means that traditional veneers are a serious commitment – you cannot put the enamel back on. Once your dentist removes the enamel, you will need to wear veneers or a dental crown to protect your tooth.

No-Prep is simpler and without the big commitment of removing a substantial amount of tooth enamel. This procedure is faster, requiring only one appointment. No-prep veneers may also be reversible, although you may still need to take special measures to protect your teeth.



Veneers at Triangle Dentistry

While traditional and no-prep veneers can do wonders to restore the appearance of teeth that are stained, decayed, or have other cosmetic issues, it is always best to keep your teeth as natural and healthy as possible with regular visits to Triangle Dentistry. If you do decide to improve the aesthetic appeal of your teeth, you are in good hands at Triangle Dentistry, where we have the advanced technology and skills necessary to place veneers perfectly every time.


Triangle Dentistry, located in Raleigh, NC, provides a state-of-the-art facility that offers exceptional general dental and specialty services guided by empathy of a patient’s needs and desires. Services range from dental crowns to veneers and whitening procedures. For further information, questions, or to schedule an appointment, contact the office at (919) 847-6000