Are you considering veneers as a potential solution to small, damaged, discolored, or missing teeth? You probably want to know that the treatment you choose for a better smile will be worth it, and that includes costs. Let’s take a look at what dental veneers cost in more detail, and how you can get the best deal.
Veneers are a thin layer of porcelain, resin composite, or other material worn over the front of your teeth to visually correct damage.
Porcelain veneers last longer than composite veneers, but both involve wearing down tooth enamel.
No-prep and snap-on veneers are an alternative to intentional enamel loss.
Insurance does not cover cosmetic dentist procedures, but payment plans, discounts, and loans are available.
Braces, aligners, and teeth whitening can be effective substitutes for veneers.
Dental veneers are thin shells of hard material, usually porcelain or resin composite, that are adhered to the front of your teeth. Veneers are a popular cosmetic procedure for cracked, chipped, stained, or sometimes even crooked teeth.
The process of getting veneers takes two or three appointments. During the initial consultation, your dentist will perform an examination and take X-rays to get a clear picture of how your teeth are formed. Then, the front surface of your enamel is worn (trimmed) down to enable the attachment of the veneers, and your dentist makes a mold of your teeth to base them on.
After a few weeks, your veneers will be ready for attachment. Your dentist will likely adjust and trim your veneers so they fit your teeth perfectly, and possibly adjust their color.
Veneers are porcelain or resin shells molded to fit your teeth, so they can visually correct damage or discoloration.
There are several types of veneers, each with its own advantages and disadvantages:
Porcelain veneers are long-lasting, aesthetically pleasing options for a perfect smile. Long-term studies show that porcelain veneers can have an over 80% or 90% survival rate after 10 or 20 years. They are commonly made from the naturally-occurring glass feldspar, which gives porcelain veneers a more natural look and allows for less enamel shaving.
On the other hand, porcelain veneers cost more, and they may not give you a perfect white look .
According to a survey, it seems that most patients prefer porcelain veneers as opposed to indirect and direct composite
Composite resin veneers are made from a resin matrix and inorganic filler, with a coupling agent to bind them. They can be directly applied to your teeth instead of fitted. While you may save money and spend less time at your dentist’s office, they are more likely to be discolored or damaged and need replacing sooner .
No-prep veneers are another type of permanent veneers, but this time made to fulfill the increasingly popular demand to preserve healthy teeth structures. They do not involve wearing down the natural tooth enamel, unlike porcelain veneers or resin, but may have less whitening power. No-prep veneers are best suited for when the affected tooth is smaller than it should be .
Removable or snap-on veneers are an alternative option that do not require tooth preparation, such as changes to the tooth structure or dental cement. They are simply molded to your teeth, much like aligners. This type can be used as temporary veneers or a long-term solution .
While porcelain veneers last longer than composite veneers, both require enamel to be worn down. No-prep and removable veneers are non-invasive options.
The cost of dental veneers depends on how many you need, and what type you decide on. According to CostHelper, traditional veneers generally cost $500–1,100 per tooth, or $2,000–4,500 for all four upper front teeth . The thin, contact lens-like Lumineers brand (a no-prep dental veneer) costs an average of $700–$1,300 per tooth or $2,800–$5,500 for a set of four.
The American Dental Association describes a different pricing, of anywhere from $925 to $2,500 per tooth . How many veneers you need determines your total bill. Four will cost you up to $10,000, and if you want to include your canines to cover your whole smile, six could mean a bill of $15,000.
The price you pay depends on the individual office, so it’s essential to consult with your local orthodontist to work out the exact cost.
Whether or not your veneers require enamel removal, the process requires at least two appointments, and each appointment and procedure should be included in the cost. However, any temporary veneers you may need, X-rays, replacement veneers, and in some cases, your initial office visit, are not covered in the listed price.
Veneers cost anywhere from around $1,000 to upwards of $10–15,000, depending on the type, number you require, and additional costs.
Unfortunately, veneers are rarely covered by dental insurance as they are seen as cosmetic procedures. A search of the Affordable Care Act dental marketplace does not yield plans that cover veneers or other cosmetic dental procedures, even at the highest premiums. Some include crowns, inlays, and other medically necessary treatments.
On the other hand, you may have some luck with a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA). You are still not eligible if your veneers are for cosmetic reasons, but some cases such as trauma or long-term medical conditions that can qualify you for a Letter of Medical Necessity (LMN) receive coverage. However, it is rare that a dentist will determine veneers are a medical necessity.
Dental insurance does not cover cosmetic treatments such as veneers, but medical necessity can create a few exceptions.
If you cannot afford the cost of veneers upfront, there are several ways to pay if you aren’t eligible for an LMN:
Your dental office may offer payment plans with a number of set options, or where you can choose your down payment and monthly installments. Some may involve no or low money down and no interest, or extended terms that can last for four years with an interest rate.
Additionally, some offices have coupons and regular promotions on offer. It is important to remember that chain dental offices may have location-specific coupons and promotions, but there is often a locator tool you can use to see if you have options in your local area.
You can also take out loans for dental care, with some services specifically designed for dental loans. They are sold as being more transparent, with less risk to your credit score and greater choices. Like payment plans, you pay in monthly installments, but interest rates can increase the amount of money you ultimately pay.
Dental financing options include payment plans, promotional savings plans, and loans, as insurance coverage is unlikely for cosmetic veneers.
Not all smile makeovers need a set of veneers. Many patients can achieve their desired look with less drastic interventions such as:
Teeth whitening is a popular cosmetic dentistry procedure where a combination of hydrogen peroxide and light therapy is used to bleach discolored teeth. If the in-office treatment is too irritating or hard to access for you, there are a number of commercially available whitening toothpastes that provide more gradual results.
Some whitening toothpastes are compatible with composite resin veneers too. Look for hydrogen peroxide as an active ingredient if you decide on veneers for another reason such as a broken tooth .
Some people choose veneers to correct mild cases of crooked teeth, but decide against them when they learn about the permanent changes required for tooth enamel. Braces are an effective way to straighten teeth, through the use of adhered brackets connected by wires that gradually shift teeth into their desired position.
If your main concern is your smile’s appearance, barely-visible ceramic and plastic options for braces are now available. Lingual braces are another option, which are placed on the tongue-facing side of your teeth .
Clear aligners are an increasingly popular alternative to braces, and these also use mechanical force to gradually shift teeth into a straighter position. Like braces, retainers are worn afterward for maintenance. Research demonstrates that aligners are effective in correcting mild misalignments, the level of severity that many seek veneers for .
Aligners make it easier to take proper care of your teeth, as they can be removed for eating and brushing your teeth. This makes you less likely to develop cavities or gum disease .
While veneers cover only the front portion of your teeth, a dental crown covers your entire tooth. More severe cases of worn or cracked teeth benefit the most from crowns, along with teeth that have large fillings or have undergone root canal treatment. While more of your natural teeth must be worn down, and it is a more drastic procedure, crowns protect against decay and can last for 50 years .
Teeth whitening products and procedures can be cheaper alternatives for discolored teeth, while braces and aligners are best for misaligned teeth. For more severe cases of damaged teeth, crowns are more effective.
What are the key things we need to know about the cost-effectiveness of veneers?
Veneers are an effective way to treat cosmetic issues such as discolored or broken teeth. Current options even include no-prep or snap-on veneers that do not require enamel loss to be fitted.
However, veneers can be a very expensive smile makeover, as even “gold” dental insurance plans do not cover treatment by cosmetic dentists. If you cannot afford to pay the entire cost upfront, payment plans, discounts, and loans are available.