What happens to your teeth under veneers?

Dental veneers (also sometimes called dental laminates) are thin shells that are bonded to the front surface of misshapen, stained, worn down, chipped, or gapped teeth in order to improve their appearance. The bonding cement used seals and permanently attaches the veneer to natural tooth. Any small gaps at the edges are closed off to ensure no dental decay can occur under the veneer later.

After veneers are placed, the underlying natural tooth remains intact. But since a thin layer of enamel were removed, and enamel cannot regenerate or grow back, the veneers now add a uniform appearance and better facade protectively encasing the sensitive inner tooth layers.

With proper oral hygiene, the remaining natural tooth stays healthy and held firmly by the well-fitted veneer. That said, in rare occasions, problems can occur if decay or damage lifts the cemented veneer away from the tooth underneath. It’s critical not to ignore loosening veneers as decay can rapidly progress under damaged ones.

What happens to your teeth under veneers

The Protective Role of Veneers

Physical Barrier

Veneers act as a protective shield, safeguarding your teeth against external elements. They serve as a barrier against stains, acidic substances, and potential physical trauma.

Enhanced Strength

Constructed from durable materials like porcelain and composite resin, veneers reinforce your tooth structure. This enhanced strength ensures resilience to the daily wear and tear your teeth experience.

Reduced Sensitivity

While enamel removal during preparation may cause temporary sensitivity, veneers often alleviate this sensation once in place, contributing to increased comfort.

Minimizing Risks of Decay

Properly bonded veneers reduce the risk of decay, acting as a barrier against harmful bacteria. Maintaining good oral hygiene remains crucial for long-term oral health.

Preservation of Tooth Structure

Veneers play a role in preserving the underlying tooth structure. By minimizing the need for extensive enamel removal, they contribute to long-term oral health.

Long Term Effects on Natural Teeth

Veneers are meant to be semi-permanent and may last anywhere from 10-30 years before replacement is needed. While they protect the underlying teeth very well, veneers made out of porcelain can sometimes chip or break if subjected to heavy biting forces. Most often though, they eventually need replacement due to gum recession over time, not actual damage to the teeth underneath.

As gums recede gradually with age, a previously hidden tooth edge becomes visible underneath the veneer. The exposed uneven edge looks unsightly, necessitating replacement. Thankfully replacing veneers is quite straightforward. The old veneer is safely taken off and any minor decay dealt with before putting on a new veneer shell.

However, some patients do opt to have their veneers removed at some point without replacing them. This may be due to financial reasons, shifting to orthodontic treatment, or simply wanting their natural tooth appearance again. Without a veneer covering it, the previously prepared tooth may then look unevenly shaved and slightly thinner. Additional veneers or other restorations can be done later on if needed though.

Oral Hygiene Practices with Veneers

  • Gentle yet thorough oral care is essential. Using suitable oral hygiene products ensures effective cleaning without compromising the integrity of the veneers.
  • Professional assessments during regular dental check-ups are vital. Dentists can identify and resolve any issues promptly, ensuring the longevity of both veneers and natural teeth.

Regular monitoring helps identify subtle changes in color or texture over time. Timely intervention ensures emerging concerns are addressed promptly.


Will dental veneers weaken my teeth?

Dental veneers can weaken teeth to some degree if not done properly:

  • Excessive tooth reduction removes too much protective enamel, compromising the underlying tooth structure and making teeth more prone to sensitivity, fractures, and decay. Conservative reduction is essential.
  • Poor quality veneers that are too bulky also require over-preparation of teeth to get them to fit correctly. This leads to more enamel removal and vulnerability.
  • Large veneers can act as lever arms, increasing stress on teeth and causing cracks or breakage over time. Proper sizing is key.

However, when done carefully with minimal enamel removal and excellent veneer fabrication and bonding technique, teeth can remain strong with added protection and longevity through quality veneers. Finding an expert cosmetic dentist prevents over-treatment so veneers fortify rather than impair your smile. With conservative treatment in capable hands, veneers sustain and strengthen teeth beautifully.

Can my teeth still decay under veneers?

Yes, if plaque builds up around veneer edges or gaps allow bacteria in, decay is still possible. Maintain rigorous oral hygiene and dental visits to prevent decay.

Do veneers protect my tooth’s inner pulp?

Usually yes, quality veneers require only surface enamel removal preserving the pulp. But in cases of prior trauma, major reshaping, or grinding habits thin layers may not suffice.

Will temperature sensitivity from veneers resolve? 

Minor sensitivity from enamel removal stabilizes in a few weeks as tubules recalcify. If hot/cold sensitivity persists long-term, examine veneer fit and integrity to address bonding gaps or damage enabling inflammation. 

Can veneers fracture from hard foods/objects?

Yes, avoid very hard or sticky foods that could crack veneers. Immediately get cracks repaired and protect veneers from direct hits in sports. Prevent grinding to reduce fracture risks.

Do veneers need replacement eventually? 

With exceptional care, veneers last over 20 years. But average lifespan is 10-15 years before aged veneers show wear issues needing replacement or repair from small cracks and marginal breakdown over such prolonged use. Still an excellent investment in your smile!

Stay vigilant with home care and routine dental visits so veneers support dental wellness long term instead of disguising issues leading to deterioration.

Final Thoughts

Veneers are a conservative, minimally invasive way to renew the appearance of your smile and dental function. While they do require some removal of natural enamel, the underlying tooth remains healthy and protected. With proper dental care and maintenance, veneers are a reliable long term solution for improving the look of front teeth.


  • 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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