This really depends on what the veneer is being used for. A veneer can as thin as 1/2 mm, or about the thickness of a fingernail. So if we are adding bulk and length to a tooth, very little enamel needs to be removed. But if a dentist is trying to make teeth appear straighter or reshape them, we often need to take away more enamel where the teeth stick out too far. Also, if we are trying to cover dark, stained teeth, the veneer needs to be thicker so the porcelain can hide the dark tooth underneath without looking too “chalky”. In addition, if the tooth already has fillings, we will extend the veneer to cover the fillings. One thing to keep in mind is that the thicker the veneer, the more creative the lab man can be in creating an esthetic, natural looking tooth. On the other hand, the less tooth we remove, the more enamel is left to bond to.
What about “no prep” veneers? I am not a fan of true no-prep veneers. At the very least, I like to slightly prepare the margin of the veneer near the gumline so that the veneer does not jut out like a speed bump there. A smoother transition is easier to keep clean and it is less visible. Some dentists claim that no-prep veneers are completely reversible, but our ability to bond is so good, that it would be extremely difficult to remove a veneer without damaging the enamel underneath.
Often, especially when veneering more than one tooth, we will take a model of the teeth and add wax to see what we want the teeth to end up looking like. If the added wax is thick enough, then very little tooth needs to be removed.
Please don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions.
Dr. Steve- Roseville Family Dentist