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Veneers: To Prep or Not?

October 30, 2014

Believe it or not, that is the question.  In fact, that is the question we are most often asked in the lab.  Both patients and dentists want to believe in the virtues of being able to provide “instant orthodontics” without touching natural teeth.  Preserving natural tooth structure should always be a guiding principle.  However, we must remember the reason patients are interested in veneers in the first place.
In the case featured in these photos, Dr. Gary Radz (Littleton, CO) and YES! Dental Laboratory worked together to create a beautiful, new smile.  Technically, this is not a no-prep case.  However, it is a case where the right materials were matched with the right techniques to achieve amazing results.
With esthetics as the primary objective, there are some important factors to consider in determining whether or not prepping is required.
1) Occlusal Pattern:  End-to-end bites are an immediate contraindication for veneers — prep or no prep.  The risk of fracture is just too high — regardless of material thickness, available bonding materials and almost anything else.  It is just not worth risking the long-term viability of a case where the bite is a concern.  In these cases, your best option is full contour crowns.  All ceramic restorations may be indicated, but veneers are almost always contraindicated.
2) Underlying Tooth Structure:  Dark, discolored teeth can be challenging to cover — especially with ultra-thin veneers.  New materials such as IPS e.max are quite effective at blocking-out underlying tooth structure while still allowing us to layer-in translucency.  However, each case is different.  In general, dark or variations in underlying tooth shading require additional preparation.
3) Mixing Crowns & Veneers:  In situations where a combination of crowns and veneers are required, minimal prep veneers are contraindicated.  It is very important to match materials across the entire smile, and even different types of metal-free restorations can result in subtle (but noticeable) variations in shading and translucency.  In these situations, it is best to utilize a pressed all-ceramic restoration that can be used for both veneers and full contour crowns.
At YES! Dental Laboratory, we are honored to be able to complete amazing cases with leading clinicians such as Dr. Gary Radz.  Every client and every case is important to us, and we look forward to helping you evaluate the best materials and prep strategy for your next veneer case — whether is requires minimal preparation or not.  


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