Do veneers hurt? It’s a question we receive all the time from prospective patients, and it’s an understandable concern. After all, dental anxiety affects nearly half of the U.S. population, and there are a lot of misconceptions about the veneers procedure. Despite what you may have heard, the prep work and placement for veneers is very straightforward and only minimally uncomfortable for most patients.
This article explains what you can expect before, during, and after your veneers procedure. You can also watch our video that provides a quick summary to the common question - does it hurt to get veneers?
What’s Involved in the Veneers Procedure?
Before we can answer the question of whether it hurts to get veneers, we have to define what we’re actually talking about. There are different types of permanent veneers: porcelain veneers, composite resin veneers, and no-prep veneers. Each type requires a different procedure.
Porcelain veneers are the highest-quality and longest-lasting veneers. They’re also the most natural-looking. When someone refers to veneers in a general sense, they’re usually talking about porcelain veneers.
Porcelain veneers can usually be placed in three appointments.
The first appointment is a general consultation. The dentist examines the tooth structure and ensures that you would be a good candidate.
The second appointment is when the dentist prepares the tooth and takes impressions. The prep work involves shaving a small amount of tooth enamel to make room for the veneer.
The third appointment is when the permanent veneer is placed on the tooth.
Composite Resin Veneers
Composite veneers, or composite resin veneers, are made with the same kind of composite resin material used for dental bonding. These are typically more brittle than porcelain veneers, and they’re not as long-lasting. Many patients choose them, though, because they don’t cost as much as porcelain veneers.
There are two types of composite veneers: direct composite and indirect composite.
Direct composite veneers are created when the resin is applied directly to the tooth. This can be done in a single appointment with little to no prep work.
Indirect composite veneers are created by forming a resin shell inside a dental laboratory, similar to the process of creating porcelain veneers. The tooth is prepped just like it would be for a porcelain veneer. The whole process generally takes 3 appointments.
No-prep veneers, like Lumineers, are similar to porcelain veneers but much thinner.
Because of their razor thin design, they can usually be applied with little to no tooth preparation. They’re just placed directly over the natural tooth with no loss of enamel.
No-prep veneers usually require no more than two appointments. They’re more cost-effective than porcelain, but they’re ultra-thin construction renders them less durable over time. They can be great for nervous patients who are uncomfortable with the tooth preparation process, but they’ll need to be replaced more frequently.
Some manufacturers and dental practices are now offering temporary, or removable, veneers. They’re usually made from plastic and can be customized for the patient. Snap-on veneers are generally heat activated. Place them in your mouth and use hot water to seal the prosthetic to your natural teeth.
These types of veneers are only recommended for occasional use. They break easily, they’re the least natural-looking solution, and it can be difficult to eat and drink while wearing them. And the way they’re designed makes them more similar to dentures than traditional permanent veneers that blend seamlessly with natural teeth.
Does Tooth Shaving for Veneers Hurt?
The tooth shaving process is the main source of concern for most veneer patients. But while this part of the treatment can come with some minor discomfort, it’s not as bad as a lot of people imagine.
In most cases, the dentist only needs to remove a very thin layer of enamel, no more than .5 millimeters. This is roughly the thickness of a fingernail, sometimes less. The process generally takes no more than 30 minutes, and it may take less time if you’re only having a single tooth treated.
The dentist will generally offer some type of numbing treatment or local anesthetic before treating you. The treatment begins after the numbing takes effect, and most patients experience no discomfort as a result. If you’re being treated for a full set of veneers (6 to 8), you may experience some gum and jaw soreness. Any discomfort is manageable with simple, over-the-counter medications.
In addition, teeth may be sensitive to hot and cold sensations after getting veneers. This is because there’s now less enamel protecting the root. This discomfort is mild and temporary, but you can minimize that as well using over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen.
Does the Veneers Placement Hurt?
The actual veneers placement is a simple, painless process. First, the dentist conducts a thorough examination to ensure that everything fits perfectly. Then, the dentist applies a special bonding cement to fuse the veneers to your natural teeth. The veneers are then cured with a special light for about a minute, ensuring a tight seal that lasts for years.
You should not experience any major discomfort during the placement, but it can take up to a couple of weeks for your mouth to adjust to the changes that have been made. You might feel some mild tenderness, you might have to readjust your bite, and your teeth may feel bulky for a few days. This is only temporary.
If you do experience any significant pain or discomfort after the placement of your veneers, contact your dentist right away. You shouldn’t be in any pain, and the dentist can make any additional adjustments if needed.
Do Veneers Hurt When Removed?
Even the best porcelain veneers will need to be replaced after 15 to 20 years. And if you opt for no-prep veneers or composite veneers, you’ll need to replace much sooner. In most cases, the dentist will need to remove the remnants of the old veneer before they can apply a new one. Once again, the discomfort here should be very minimal.
In most cases, the dentist will numb the tooth just as they did for your initial tooth shaving. Then they will shave the remainder of the porcelain veneer from the tooth surface. This should only take a few minutes, and any minor discomfort afterward can be addressed with over-the-counter pain medications.
How NOT to Prevent Discomfort When Getting Veneers
Some worried patients have been known to take matters into their own hands when showing up for a veneers procedure. For example, some patients have used alcohol before a treatment to both quell their anxiety or numb any potential pain. This is a huge mistake, as alcohol is a natural blood thinner and should never be consumed before any type of medical or dental procedure.
Some patients may also be tempted to take other pain medications before arriving at their appointment. It may be safe to take 400 to 600 mg of ibuprofen before a procedure, but speak with your dentist beforehand. This is usually not necessary, as the dentist has their own numbing agents and local anesthetics available to minimize (if not altogether eliminate) any discomfort.
How to Minimize Discomfort While Getting Veneers
If you’re thinking about getting veneers but you’re concerned about the prospect of dental pain, talk to your dentist.
The discomfort is only minor, but there are options available for nervous patients. For instance, your dentist might offer sedation dentistry to completely eliminate the prospect of discomfort during the procedure, or they might offer no-prep veneers that are applied quickly and easily.
Finally, remember that any sensitivity or discomfort is just temporary and manageable. But the smile benefits of veneers will serve you for years—maybe a lifetime. So don’t be afraid to take that next step. We promise you won’t regret it.