What Are Dental Veneers And When Might I Need Them?

Dr. Christopher Li Etobicoke - Li Family Dental

By Dr. Christopher Li

March 29, 2024

cosmetic dentistry, dental veneers, smile makeover, teeth veneers

Dental veneers are like fake nails for teeth. Made of a sturdy, natural-looking, thin porcelain shell, they can be used to correct a long list of smile woes. Keep reading for a deeper look at dental veneer services, when your dentist might recommend them, and veneers pros and cons to help you decide if they are right for you. 

What Are Dental Veneers?

A set of porcelain dental veneers displayed on a black, wet surface.

Dental veneers are thin “shells” made of natural-looking porcelain permanently attached to your teeth. Although mostly used for cosmetic purposes, they might be recommended to correct the appearance of a damaged tooth following restoration. They are a popular choice offering an affordable treatment compared to other permanent cosmetic dental options, such as crowns. 

When Might My Dentist Recommend Dental Veneers?

Comparison of teeth before and after dental veneers treatment, with improved alignment and whitening.

Many patients wonder if veneers are strictly cosmetic or if they serve a functional purpose. Dental veneer services are mostly provided for cosmetic dentistry but do have some functional applications as part of the restoration process. Here are the most common reasons your dentist might recommend dental veneers:


Chipped or broken teeth: If you have a damaged tooth that doesn’t require a procedure such as a root canal or extraction, your dentist might recommend teeth veneer services once the restoration process is complete. This is ideal for chips or minor breaks that ruin the look of your smile.

Worn-down teeth: Aging can lead to wear that makes your front teeth look chipped. One of the easiest solutions is to apply veneers that hide the worn areas to restore your tooth shape. Also, if you have enamel wear, tooth veneer services can protect teeth from further damage while addressing discolouration related to exposed dentin.


Gaps: Teeth gaps or “diastema” can make you self-conscious about your smile. By placing veneers over teeth, cosmetic veneer services can hide the gaps and create a more even smile.

Severe staining and discolouration: When your teeth are stained and can’t be corrected with whitening, veneers are an excellent solution to create an even brighter tone to your teeth for a uniform smile.

Misalignment, unevenness, and irregular shape: As with gaps, dental veneers can help improve the appearance of minor dental alignments, uneven teeth, or irregularly shaped teeth. Veneers can be crafted to cover these imperfections and is recommended if orthodontic treatment is not required. 

Can Anyone Get Veneers?


Unfortunately, there are several scenarios where veneers won’t work, including:

  • Tooth decay
  • Periodontal disease
  • Limited enamel on your teeth that interferes with veneer bonding
  • Your tooth is not intact
  • You grind or clench your teeth, which will damage your veneers

However, your dentist can correct issues such as decay or periodontal disease first and then apply your veneers. There are also other cosmetic service alternatives for those who aren’t suited to veneers, such as crowns or bonding. 

Are Veneers Permanent Or Temporary?


With proper care, your veneers can be permanent. However, issues such as grinding and clenching can damage your veneers, as can improper procedures. Therefore, it’s important to ensure your dental office specializes in cosmetic treatments such as veneers. 

Types Of Dental Veneers


There are a few different types of dental veneers available, including:

  • Porcelain: These are the most common veneers and have proven their effectiveness as the material of choice since the 1930s. They will last up to 20 years with proper maintenance. They have the most natural look and provide a precise fit that keeps them secure. They can also be tinted to match the colour of your natural teeth.
  • No-Prep Veneers: These veneers are thinner than porcelain and don’t require as much prep. As a result, they can be removed without issues as the process does not require the removal of tissue and as much enamel as porcelain. Although they can last as long as porcelain, they are much thinner and don’t look quite as natural due to a more pronounced translucence that is not as effective at covering stains or larger chips and damage.
  • Same-Day Veneers: These are the most popular veneers today as they combine the natural appearance and durability of porcelain with modern CAD/CAM technology. Known as Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramic or CEREC® veneers, they are made in the office, so you only require one appointment. You also don’t need to wear temporary veneers while waiting for your veneers to come back from the lab. The porcelain used is just as effective as traditional porcelain for hiding most imperfections and stains. 

What’s Involved In The Veneers Process?


When receiving CEREC® veneers, the following steps are involved:

  • A thin layer of tooth enamel is removed to accommodate your new veneers.
  • A numbing anesthetic can be applied if sensitivity is an issue.
  • A 3D impression of your teeth is made using a small camera for precise measurements used to craft your veneers.
  • The veneers are “milled” onsite.
  • Colour and glaze are applied to perfect their appearance to match your natural teeth.
  • A mild chemical is applied to your teeth to roughen the service to create a more solid bond with the dental cement.
  • Your veneers are cemented in place. 

Pros And Cons Of Teeth Veneers


To help you decide if veneers are right for you, consider the following teeth veneers pros and cons:


  • Ideal for addressing cosmetic issues, such as chips, cracks, and discolouration
  • Helps maintain more of your natural tooth than crowns
  • Offers a reasonably straightforward way to perfect your smile
  • Stain- and cavity-resistant
  • Affordable compared to crowns
  • Can last up to 20 years as a permanent solution
  • Same-day process when choosing CEREC® veneers
  • Natural-looking appearance when choosing porcelain
  • Same care as your natural teeth
  • Confidence with an improved smile


  • More expensive compared to bonding
  • Treatment is irreversible due to the removal of enamel and the use of the roughening agent
  • Can lead to increased sensitivity for some people
  • Not suitable for people who grind or clench their teeth
  • Although they can last up to 20 years, crowns and bridges can last a lifetime

Dental veneers are an excellent cosmetic treatment to address issues such as staining, minor damage like chips or malformed teeth, and some alignment issues. If you’re unhappy with the appearance of your smile, book an appointment to discuss cosmetic options. We can find the best treatment plan to improve imperfections using effective options based on your needs and budget.

Give us a call at 416-232-2033 or request an appointment by clicking here.

Dr. Christopher Li

About the author

Doctor Christopher Li, DDS
Dr. Chris, as he is affectionately known, is a licensed dentist with over 20 years experience. His caring personality makes even the most tentative person at ease. Patients are constantly commenting about how Dr. Chris is incredible at delivering pain-free freezing, and how he has an amazing chair-side manner.  Dr. Chris loves sharing information with his patients and everyone who has teeth about how to care for their teeth, avoid tooth decay, and the treatments available to help them overcome their tooth pain or other dental issues so they can enjoy life and food to its fullest!

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