What Are Veneers?

Closeup of a dentist comparing shades of veneers

Dental veneers are thin shells that attach to the front of your teeth to improve their appearance.

Since they’re minimally invasive, incredibly effective, and quick to apply, they’re a popular treatment for a number of different cosmetic concerns, including chipped, broken, or discolored teeth.

Ready? Let’s take a moment to answer some of the most common questions about veneers.

What are the different types of veneers?

There are two main types of veneers – porcelain and composite resin. You may also hear of a different type, Lumineers, which are still porcelain but involve a slightly different attachment process.

Each type varies slightly in terms of durability, final appearance, and the amount of enamel that must be removed (though this is always minimal, regardless of type).

To discover which type suits your situation best, speak to your Smith Family dentist.

Porcelain Veneers

These are, by far, the most common type of veneers. These are made in a lab, and once your veneer(s) arrive, your dentist can prepare your tooth and bond them in place with a relatively short procedure.

Porcelain is the most durable and long-lasting choice for veneers, and it typically provides a superior appearance due to its interactions with light. However, these take at least two appointments to apply, and are usually more expensive.

Composite Veneers

Your dentist will etch the surface of your tooth before applying a thin layer of composite material directly to your tooth. They then complete the process by hardening the composite veneer with a special light.

Since these don’t need an external lab, your dentist can complete them in as little as one procedure. Though composite resin isn’t quite as durable as porcelain, it can be repaired if chips occur – unlike porcelain veneers, which must be replaced altogether.


This is a specific brand of porcelain veneers. They take less time and are less invasive to apply. The whole process is easier, and usually, these veneers don’t require local anesthetic or prep work.

However, they’re much thinner than other veneers, meaning they may require additional care and maintenance to help them last longer. As such, they’re usually used for minor restorations, rather than addressing severe issues.

What type of veneer is best?

As unsatisfying an answer as it may seem: It depends. Every case is unique, so you’ll need to talk to your Smith Family dentist to be sure. When you do, ask them about these factors:

  • Cost
  • Time needed to install
  • Final appearance
  • Long-term durability
  • The dentist’s experience with each specific type of veneer

What are some benefits of dental veneers?

The biggest benefit to opting for veneers is improving the cosmetic appearance of your smile:

  • Covers chips, cracks, misalignments, gaps, and discoloration (even major cases)
  • Look & feel natural
  • Requires little to no enamel removal
  • Prevents tooth discoloration
  • Increases confidence in your smile
  • Low-maintenance

What problems do dental veeners fix?

Veneers are routinely used to fix:

  • Teeth that are discolored because of:
  • Broken or chipped teeth
  • Gaps between teeth (or misaligned teeth)
  • Worn down teeth

If you’re curious about whether veneers can help you, speak to your Smith Family dentist to learn more.

How to care for veneers

Look after your new smile and avoid biting your fingernails and chewing on hard objects, such as pencils or ice – these may crack or wear down the material over time.

It may take you a few days to get used to them, but it’s important to let your dentist know if your bite does not feel right. They can make adjustments if need be.

Keep your teeth and gums clean by brushing and flossing each day as you would normally.

Ready to revitalize your smile? Contact us to make a booking:

Smith Family Dentistry is located in Wilmington, NC, and happily serves patients from surrounding areas, including Carolina Beach, Wrightsville Beach, Castle Hayne, Rocky Point, Burgaw, Leland, Kure Beach, Jacksonville, Surf City, Topsail Beach, Holly Ridge, Sneads Ferry, Hampstead, Riegelwood, Bolton, Lake Waccamaw, Southport, Delco, Bolivia, Wallace, and Rose Hill, NC.