Shaving Teeth Down For Veneers – Reality vs. Myth 

Shaving teeth down for veneers

Veneers are one of the most sought-after solutions for achieving a picture-perfect smile. They not only enhance the appearance but also provide a durable cover for your natural teeth. The process involves removing fingernail thickness from your teeth’s enamel. It’s a preparatory step that is essential yet often misunderstood because of the false images that you see on the internet. In this article, we will explore what veneers are, why teeth need to be shaved for their application, and the pros and cons of this procedure.

Veneers - Dr. Hales

Why Do I Need To Get My Teeth Shaved Before Veneers?

Shaving teeth down for veneers is an essential step for cosmetic dentists to place veneers on the tooth in order for it to fit properly. It’s both an art and a science when it comes to placing veneers to a smile. 

“Seeing a veneer prep can be pretty intimidating for people. The whole idea of “shaving” the teeth down is enough to deter many people from the thought of veneers. So why do I prep the teeth? To achieve the best results for the smile in terms of tooth size, shape, and symmetry for natural looking veneers, minimal tooth preparation is a necessary part of the process. It comes down to precision, having a game plan, and working with a master ceramist. Prepping the teeth gives me total control over the outcome of the smile so we end up with perfectly natural and flawless results.”

Dr. Tyler Hales

The primary purpose of shaving down teeth is to create space for the veneer to fit seamlessly along the gum line and align perfectly with the rest of the teeth. This ensures the veneers look natural and do not protrude unnaturally. Typically, 0.5 mm to 0.7 mm of the tooth surface is removed, which is about the thickness of a contact lens or a fingernail. This is crucial to prevent the altered teeth from feeling bulky or looking oversized.

Harmony Veneers

What Are Veneers?

Veneers are thin shells designed to cover the front surface of teeth. They not only improve your teeth’s color, but also shape, size, and/or length. Each type has its benefits, suitable for different dental needs and aesthetic goals.

Porcelain veneers are expertly handcrafted from premium dental porcelain, offering a lifelike, durable, and customizable smile enhancement. These veneers mimic the translucency, color, and texture of natural teeth, providing a beautiful and natural appearance. With minimal enamel removal required for placement, they preserve more of your natural tooth structure while providing a long-lasting solution that can maintain its aesthetic appeal for for 20-30 years or more.

Composite veneers offer a less invasive option and can be applied in a single visit. They are crafted from a tooth-colored material that is directly applied the tooth and sculpted by the cosmetic dentist, offering a cost-effective and versatile solution for enhancing your smile. They require minimal tooth preparation, can be easily repaired, and provide immediate results, making them ideal for addressing discoloration, chips, and gaps. While they are more affordable and offer quick aesthetic improvements, it’s important to consider their shorter lifespan and maintenance needs compared to porcelain veneers.

Hales Aesthetic veneers

Shaving Teeth Down For Veneers 

Tooth preparation is a carefully measured and executed procedure. At Hales Aesthetic, Dr. Hales’s process for veneers can be broken down into 4 steps. 

  1. Consultation: This is where you get all of your questions answered for free before you even step foot in the office. Our patients upload pictures of their smiles and a description of what they would like to change as well as including any questions they may have about veneers. From there, Dr. Hales will create a personalized video for his patients to answer their questions and introduce them to his process.  There is also an in-person consultation which is preferred as patients get a more in-depth meeting with Dr. Hales. During the in-office consultation, patients have the opportunity to get a Veneer Test Drive by Dr. Hales. Essentially, what that is, Dr. Hales places a removable material over the teeth to show his patients in real-time the potential of their smile with veneers. They can be worn for a few hours to allow patients to truly “try before you buy”. This helps patients give the assurance they need to move forward with veneers with full confidence. 
  2. Smile Design: A detailed 3D scan, or impression, for out-of-town patients, of your current smile is taken to serve as the blueprint for your new veneer-enhanced smile. Dr. Hales collaborates closely with expert ceramists, Daniel Yang, during the design consultation, using a wax model to refine and visualize the desired changes. Together, they focus on achieving your specific aesthetic goals, including the ideal color, shape, and size of your new veneers.
  3. Temporaries: Next your natural teeth are carefully prepared for veneers with minimal structural alteration, ensuring only the necessary amount of tooth structure is removed to meet your smile’s aesthetic goals. Impressions are then made, and temporary veneers, which are exact replicas of the final design, are fitted. These temporaries allow you to sport your new look while our skilled ceramists meticulously craft your permanent porcelain veneers.
  4. Finals: Finally, temporary veneers are carefully removed, and your custom porcelain veneers are then individually bonded to each tooth, finalizing your smile transformation. We ensure optimal alignment and functionality with a digital scan of your bite. Additionally, your new smile is scanned to create a night guard, which you can wear while sleeping to protect your veneers and extend their longevity.
How to Fix a Chipped Tooth

As mentioned earlier, shaving down teeth for veneers is done in order to create space for the actual veneers to fit seamlessly along the gum line and most importantly, align perfectly with the rest of your smile. Depending on the health of your teeth, is also dependent on how much enamel is removed. 

Amount of Enamel Removed 

Depending on the individual’s smile and aesthetic goal, it is different for each individual on how much teeth need to be shaved. Many people mistakenly think that getting porcelain veneers requires grinding their teeth down to points, but this is not the case

For patients with straight or slightly gapped teeth or those whose teeth naturally sit back, often no shaving is necessary, and veneers can be successfully applied directly onto your existing teeth. However, the surface of your tooth will still be prepped to ensure the veneers adhere securely. This minimal preparation allows for an effective and secure application of the veneers.

If your teeth are slightly crooked, you may need minimal shaving for the veneers to sit flush and straight along your smile line. The surface of each tooth will also be prepped to enhance the grip of the veneers, ensuring a seamless fit.

For those with larger or more protruding teeth who desire a reduction in size, more extensive preparation may be necessary. The cosmetic dentist will make sure you understand that some shaving might be needed, depending on the original size and position of your teeth as well as the desired outcome. Each tooth’s preparation is customized to achieve the perfect alignment and aesthetic. 

Remember when it comes to shaving the teeth down for veneers, it’s not a huge amount that will damage your teeth. The amount is 0.5 mm which is the same as the magnetic strip on the back of a credit card or five stacked sheets of paper. 

What Does Veneer Prep Feel Like?

So, what exactly does preparing for veneers feel like? Most often, to ensure you’re comfortable, you’ll be numbed during the procedure. Fellow patients of Dr. Hales who have veneers done share their personal experiences where they generally won’t feel anything during the prep if they’ve been given a local anesthetic. Other patients have shared that they don’t need any numbing at all, these individuals are few and usually because the cosmetic dentist doesn’t anticipate any significant tenderness or discomfort during the procedure. 

Benefits of Getting Veneers

Veneers bring a multitude of advantages to the table—not only do they enhance your smile, but they also contribute to better oral hygiene and overall dental health.

With the power to significantly revamp your smile, veneers address issues like discolored, uneven, or gapped teeth. More than just boosting your appearance, they harmonize with your facial features, enhancing your overall look. This transformation can positively impact both your personal and professional interactions.

Veneers are also known for their longevity and strength. When maintained properly, the results of your cosmetic dental treatments can endure for many years. The robust materials used in procedures like veneers ensure that your new smile remains vibrant without constant concerns about damage. This aspect makes veneers a valuable long-term investment in both your looks and oral health.

Lastly, the customizable nature of veneers stands out as one of its most significant benefits. Treatments are meticulously tailored, from the precise shade and shape of veneers to comprehensive treatment plans tailored for full mouth reconstructions. This customized care guarantees that each patient achieves a smile that’s uniquely theirs.

Smile makeover candidate

Where Can I Get Veneers Done?

In our opinion, the most important question is what kind of dentist does veneers. The key to a successful veneer process lies with cosmetic dentists, who specialize in enhancing the appearance of teeth and smiles. 

This branch of dentistry covers a range of treatments designed to tackle aesthetic issues such as discoloration, misalignment, gaps, and chips. When considering veneers, whether porcelain or composite, the skill and expertise of a cosmetic dentist are crucial.

Maintenance of Veneers Post-Procedure 

Maintaining veneers is straightforward and involves good oral hygiene practices like brushing, flossing, and regular dental check-ups. Porcelain veneers also require some care to prevent chipping or cracking, such as avoiding hard foods and not using your teeth as tools.

Should I Get Veneers


The journey to achieving a flawless smile with veneers is grounded in precision and personalized care. As we’ve explored, the preparation for veneers, particularly the shaving of teeth, is much less daunting than many fear. It’s a finely tuned process that involves only minor alterations to your teeth, ensuring that your veneers fit perfectly without compromising the natural structure or health of your teeth.

Veneers not only transform your smile aesthetically but also offer lasting benefits to your dental health and personal confidence. They are a testament to the advancements in cosmetic dentistry, where functionality meets aesthetics to create results that are both beautiful and sustainable. With proper care, veneers can be a long-term investment in your smile, enhancing not just your appearance but also your quality of life.

If you’re considering veneers, choosing the right cosmetic dentist is crucial. It’s important to select a professional who not only has the technical expertise but also understands your vision for your smile. Dr. Hales at Hales Aesthetic is committed to providing personalized, high-quality care, ensuring that each step of the veneer process, from consultation to the final application, is handled with precision and your comfort in mind.

Embrace the change, invest in your smile, and enjoy the transformative effects of veneers on your overall appearance and dental health. Whether it’s enhancing tooth color, alignment, or filling gaps, veneers offer a tailored solution to meet your needs and exceed your expectations.


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