Teeth after veneers removed

Veneers can serve beautifully for many years, masking flaws and enhancing smiles. However, there are times when dental veneers require removal or replacement, often 5-20 years after initially being placed, usually due to decay or damage. In cases like these where the veneers are old, failing, or symptoms emerge, dentists will recommend the veneers be removed from your teeth.

So what ultimately happens to your natural teeth after removing facade veneers that previously covered their surface?

A few changes may be apparent with the newly exposed natural teeth underlying the restored smile. Patients may notice surface stains on the teeth that were previously covered up by veneer facades for many years. Other common revelations are tooth decay, or tiny stress cracks that were undetectable over decades but now clearly display on the teeth once unmasked.

Moreover, without built up veneers making teeth seem fuller, the natural teeth may appear thinner or smaller as more true dimensions get exposed. Finally, temperature and pressure sensitivity frequently increases in the short term because protective layers on top of dentin get removed after so many years, forcing tubule recalcification for sensitivity resolution.

Teeth after veneers removed

Why Veneers Get Removed

There are a few common reasons veneers need removal or replacement after 5-20 years, or even sooner:

  • Fractures and cracks allow bacteria entry causing decay requiring access.
  • Gum recession exposes vulnerable cement and tooth structure needing protection.
  • Loosening occurs over decades as bonding seal weakens.
  • Yellowing or uneven stain absorption alters the uniform esthetic.
  • Persistent temperature sensitivity signals veneer or bonding issues.
  • Decay forms at margins due to trapped bacteria in aging gaps.

What Teeth Look Like Underneath Veneers

Once your dentist removes compromised veneers, several things may stand out on your newly exposed teeth:

Surface Stains

Superficial yellowing or spotty stains develop from nicotine, coffee, tea, wine or biofilm accumulation on older restorations over the years. These often clean off entirely with prophy polishing. 


Gaps allowing bacteria in produce tooth decay once concealed beneath failing veneers. This necessitates drilling out infected areas before placing new restorations.


Long hidden stress cracks now show through. Cracks require sealing, veneers may need crowns or onlays instead moving forward depending on severity and pulp proximity. 

Worn Teeth

Teeth may appear thinner or smaller without built up veneers make them seem fuller. Bonding restoration procedures build teeth back out where indicated.


Following years covered in protective shells, underlying teeth often have heightened temperature and pressure sensitivity upon initial exposure. This usually resolves as tubule recalcification occurs.

Restorative Options after Removing Old Veneers

Based on your underlying tooth’s new condition once revealed, your dentist will advise options like:

1. Re-veneering

If the underlying tooth exhibits minor enamel damage after veneer removal, re-veneering might be a viable option. This preserves the tooth structure, providing a seamless and aesthetically pleasing result. The dentist will carefully assess the tooth, possibly make slight adjustments, and then apply a new veneer to restore both appearance and protection.

2. Crowns or Onlays

For teeth that have experienced significant wear or cracking, crowns or onlays may be recommended to provide enhanced protection and support. Crowns cover the entire tooth, while onlays are more conservative, covering only the damaged portion. Both options involve reshaping the tooth and placing a custom restoration, offering robust reinforcement and restoring both function and appearance to compromised teeth.

3. Dental Fillings

In cases where localized decay is detected after veneer removal, dental fillings may be employed to address the specific areas of concern. Fillings effectively treat decay, preserving the natural tooth structure and preventing further deterioration. During the procedure, the dentist will remove decayed material, clean the tooth, and then fill the cavity with a suitable restorative material such as composite resin or amalgam, restoring the function and aesthetic of your mouth.

4. Teeth Whitening

If deep stains persist after veneer removal, teeth whitening procedures can be considered to enhance the overall esthetics of the smile. Various teeth whitening methods, including in-office treatments or take-home kits, may be recommended based on the extent of staining. This restores a brighter, more youthful appearance to the teeth, complementing the overall dental restoration.

Discussing these options with your dentist will help determine the most suitable approach based on the specific condition of your teeth post-veneer removal. The goal is to achieve both optimal oral health and a aesthetically pleasing smile.

Reassess Veneer Value

The ultimate test of good dentistry is how the teeth fare long-term once facade enhancements get removed or replaced after decades of service. With careful execution guided by conservative principles, even extensive veneer cases should leave reasonably intact, revitalizable teeth underneath to build on rather than disaster beneath illusion. Discuss any concerns thoroughly with your cosmetic dentist before undertaking intensive elective smile renovation.


  • Editorial team

    A team comprising oral health care professionals, researchers, and professional Writers, striving to impart you with the knowledge to improve your oral health, and that of your loved ones. 

  • Lilly

    Lilly, aka, Liza Lee, is a passionate community oral health officer and our lead writer. She's not only well-versed in performing a multitude of dental procedures, including preventive, restorative, and cosmetic, but also an avid writer. Driven by the significant oral health burden all around her, Lilly strives to build capacity and promote oral health. She envisions making a lasting impact by advancing research, prevention, and promotion efforts to alleviate oral health disparities. Please share your views and opinions on my posts.

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