By: Dr. Lahiru Chandraweera

June 06, 2023

Dental Veneers Alternatives: When Veneers Aren’t the Answer

In the pursuit of that picture-perfect smile, dental veneers have emerged as a highly sought-after option for many people. These thin, custom-made shells are designed to cover the front surface of teeth, instantly transforming their appearance.

Dental veneers help address dental issues such as:

However, not everyone is an ideal candidate for dental veneers, and it’s essential to recognise the limitations of dental veneers before deciding on this treatment.

If you find yourself unable to opt for dental veneers, don’t worry. There are dental veneer alternatives that can help you achieve the beautiful smile you desire. From dental crowns and teeth whitening to other dental restorations, this blog post will explore various options available to you, guiding you through the pros and cons of each.

Whether you’re ineligible for dental veneers or simply curious about other options, this comprehensive guide will provide you with valuable information and insights on alternative treatments. Keep reading to discover the path to your dream smile!

Hills Family Dental Centre

Summary of the Content

  • Dental veneers are not the only solution for a brighter smile. Alternatives include teeth bonding, dental crowns, teeth whitening, orthodontics, and tooth contouring.

  • Each alternative offers unique benefits and considerations, with factors like cost, durability, maintenance, and aesthetic results varying between options.

  • Choosing an alternative involves assessing your dental health, lifestyle, and habits and consulting with a dental care professional.

  • Proper oral hygiene and care and regular dental check-ups help preserve and maintain dental work for longevity and optimal oral health.

Understanding Dental Veneers and Their Limitations

As we explore dental veneer alternatives, it’s important to first understand what dental veneers are and their uses. You should also know the limitations of dental veneers that might lead someone to seek other options.

Brief Overview of Dental Veneers

  • Dental veneers are thin shells made from porcelain or composite resin. They cover the front surface of teeth, improving their appearance.

  • There are two main types of veneers: traditional porcelain veneers and composite veneers.

  • The placement of dental veneers is a cosmetic procedure that involves removing a thin layer of natural tooth enamel to create space for the veneer, which is then bonded to the tooth surface using a dental adhesive.

  • Porcelain veneers offer a more natural appearance and are more resistant to stains, while composite veneers are a quicker and more affordable alternative to porcelain veneers.

Common Concerns with Dental Veneers

  • Potential tooth sensitivity:
    Removing natural tooth enamel can cause increased sensitivity to hot and cold foods or drinks.

  • Irreversible nature:
    Since the procedure involves removing tooth enamel, it is considered irreversible.

  • Veneer durability:
    Although veneers are strong, they can chip or crack under excessive pressure, requiring repair or replacement.

  • Staining:
    Composite resin veneers are more prone to staining than porcelain veneers.

  • Adjustments:
    Making adjustments to veneers after they have been bonded can be challenging.

Candidacy for Dental Veneers

  • Tooth decay or damage:
    Dental veneers may not be suitable for severely decayed or damaged teeth, as the entire tooth structure may need more comprehensive restorative procedures.

  • Teeth misalignment:
    For patients with significant teeth misalignment, orthodontic treatment may be a better option for achieving a straighter smile.

  • Bruxism (teeth grinding):
    Patients who grind their teeth may damage veneers over time, making them less suitable candidates for this type of cosmetic procedure.

Armed with this knowledge about dental veneers, you can better understand why they may not be the ideal solution for everyone. Let’s move on to examine the various dental veneer alternatives, including dental crowns and teeth whitening, which can help address some of the limitations of dental veneers.

Dental Veneer Alternative #1: Teeth Bonding

Several factors can impact the lifespan of dental veneers. Understanding these factors can help you take better care o

For those considering dental veneer alternatives, teeth bonding, also known as cosmetic or dental bonding, is an option worth exploring. This process involves the use of tooth-coloured composite resin to improve or restore the natural shape and appearance of your teeth. It’s a popular alternative to veneers due to its simplicity, cost-effectiveness, and preservation of natural tooth structure.

The Teeth Bonding Process

  • Consultation:
    The dentist will assess your dental condition to determine if you’re a suitable candidate for the dental bonding procedure.

  • Preparation:
    The dentist will select a composite resin shade or colour that matches your natural teeth closely.

  • Bonding:
    The tooth surface is etched to allow the bonding material to adhere properly. The resin is then applied, moulded, and smoothed to match the shape of your teeth.

  • Curing:
    A special light is used to harden the material, after which the dentist will further trim, shape, and polish the rest to blend seamlessly with the natural teeth.

Pros and Cons of Teeth Bonding



More affordable compared to traditional veneers

Not as stain-resistant as other dental options

A conservative option as it retains more natural tooth structure

May not last as long as veneers

Can be completed in a single visit

Not suitable for severe dental conditions

Minimal discomfort during the procedure

Composite material may not be as strong as natural tooth enamel


When Teeth Bonding Is a More Suitable Option

  • Minor cosmetic issues: Teeth bonding is an excellent option for patients looking to address minor cosmetic issues like small gaps or slightly crooked teeth.

  • Surface flaws:
    Tooth bonding is ideal for addressing minor chips, cracks, or discolouration on the tooth’s surface.

  • Temporary treatment:
    As a cheaper alternative, it can serve as a temporary treatment for cosmetic reasons until a longer-lasting treatment can be pursued.

Understanding the process, pros, and cons of teeth bonding can help you decide if it’s the right dental veneer alternative for you.

Dental Veneer Alternative #2: Dental Crowns

Acting like a cap, a dental crown is placed over the whole tooth, restoring its original shape, size, and function. Known for their durability and extensive coverage, dental crowns provide a solid option when veneers are not recommended.

What are Dental Crowns?

  • Dental crowns are fixed prosthetic devices cemented onto natural teeth or implants, covering the entire visible part of the tooth.

  • Crowns can be made from various materials, including porcelain, zirconia, or all-metal (such as gold or another alloy).

  • Dental crowns are used for various dental issues, such as restoring a broken or worn-down tooth, protecting a weak tooth from decay, or covering discoloured or misshaped teeth.

  • The placement of a crown usually requires two dental visits: one for preparing the tooth and taking impressions and the other for fitting the custom-made crown.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Dental Crowns



Long-lasting with proper care

More invasive than veneers as they require more enamel removal

Can restore severely damaged or decayed teeth

Potential for increased sensitivity or need for root canal if tooth decay reaches the pulp

Suitable for back teeth that require more strength

Higher cost than other cosmetic treatments

Available in various materials to match natural teeth

Potential for crown loosening or falling out over time


Scenarios Where Dental Crowns are Recommended

  • Extensive decay or damage:
    Dental crowns can be a viable option when a tooth is too decayed or damaged for a veneer.

  • Post-root canal:
    A dental crown often protects the restored tooth after a root canal.

  • Large fillings:
    A crown can provide additional support and protection when a tooth has a large filling.

  • Wear and tear:
    A crown can restore the original shape and function of teeth worn down by grinding or acid reflux.

Dental crowns offer an excellent alternative to veneers in several scenarios, especially when dealing with extensively damaged or decayed teeth.

Dental Veneer Alternative #3: Teeth Whitening

As we continue to explore alternatives to dental veneers, let’s shift our focus to a simpler, non-invasive option – teeth whitening. This cosmetic procedure aims to lighten teeth and help remove teeth stains and discolouration. It’s a popular choice for those wanting to enhance the brightness of their natural smile without the need for veneers.

Description of Teeth Whitening

  • Teeth whitening is a treatment designed to lighten the colour of your teeth, resulting in a brighter smile.

  • It’s achieved through the use of whitening agents, typically hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide.

  • It’s important to remember that teeth whitening isn’t a one-time procedure. It has to be repeated from time to time if you want to maintain brighter teeth.

  • Several types of teeth whitening treatments are available, including in-office procedures, at-home bleaching kits provided by your dentist, and over-the-counter whitening strips and gels.

Pros and Cons of Teeth Whitening



Improves the appearance of your teeth

Potential tooth sensitivity

Boosts self-esteem

Not suitable for all types of discolouration

Can be more affordable than veneers

Results may vary


Requires maintenance for a lasting effect


When Teeth Whitening May Be a Better Option Than Veneers

  • For minor discolouration:
    Teeth whitening can be a great treatment for teeth that are healthy but have minor staining or discolouration.

  • When you want a less invasive option:
    Unlike veneers, which require the removal of tooth enamel, teeth whitening is a non-invasive procedure.

  • Cost considerations:
    If you’re after a whiter smile but have budget constraints, teeth whitening is a good option since it is less expensive than veneers.

  • For those with good oral health:
    Teeth whitening is a good option if your teeth and gums are in good health and you simply want to enhance your smile.

As we can see, tooth whitening offers a viable alternative to veneers for those seeking a radiant, natural-looking smile. However, it’s important to remember that teeth whitening results can vary, and the procedure may not be suitable for everyone. Discussing any dental cosmetic enhancements with your dentist is always a good idea to make sure they’re the right fit for your specific dental needs.

Dental Veneer Alternative #4: Tooth Contouring and Reshaping

We’re taking a closer look at another alternative to dental veneers that often flies under the radar: tooth contouring and reshaping. This procedure can be an excellent choice for those who want to tweak their teeth’ shape or length without resorting to veneers.

Explanation of Tooth Contouring and Reshaping Procedures

Tooth contouring and reshaping is a cosmetic dental procedure that aims to change the shape or length of your teeth. Let’s get to know more about it.

  • Tooth contouring, also called enameloplasty, involves the removal of small amounts of tooth enamel to change the shape or length of your teeth.

  • Tooth contouring is usually done on the upper front teeth – the ones that are most visible when you smile.

  • Your dentist will use a drill to remove small amounts of tooth enamel from your teeth and smoothen and polish them for a refined look. This is usually a pain-free procedure that doesn’t require anaesthesia.

Suitability for Those Seeking Minor Adjustments

Tooth contouring and reshaping are particularly suitable for those looking for minor adjustments. Here’s why:

  • Subtle Changes:
    If you’re looking to make small changes to the shape of your teeth, this might be the option for you. It’s particularly effective for smoothing out bumps or other irregularities on your teeth.

  • Quick and Painless:
    This procedure is generally quick, often completed in one appointment, and usually painless since only surface enamel is removed.

  • Cost-Effective:
    Compared to other dental treatments, tooth contouring can be a more affordable option for improving your smile.

While tooth contouring and reshaping can’t fix significant issues like severe tooth misalignment, it’s an excellent option for minor cosmetic changes. It allows you to enhance your smile while keeping your natural teeth intact.

Dental Veneer Alternative

As we continue exploring viable alternatives to dental veneers, we now focus on orthodontics. This branch of dentistry addresses misaligned teeth and jaws, improving a patient’s smile without resorting to veneers.

Types of Orthodontic Options

There are several orthodontic options available, each with pros and cons. Let’s take a closer look at a few common ones:

  • Traditional Metal Braces:
    These are the most widely known type of orthodontic treatment. These involve brackets, wires, and bands. The downside is that they are the most visible type of braces.

  • Ceramic Braces:
    They are similar to metal braces but use clear or tooth-coloured brackets, making them less visible. However, they can stain more easily if not properly cared for.

  • Lingual Braces:
    These are placed on the inner side of the teeth, making them less visible. However, they can be more challenging to clean and may be uncomfortable initially.

  • Clear Aligners (ex: Invisalign):
    These are virtually invisible plastic trays worn over your teeth. They can be removed for eating, drinking, and cleaning, making them a highly convenient option. However, they may not be suitable for severe dental issues.

When Orthodontics is Recommended Over Dental Veneers

Orthodontics might be the preferred route in several scenarios:

  • Significant Misalignment:
    Orthodontics may be the recommended treatment if your teeth are severely misaligned, or you have a severe overbite or underbite.

  • Preference for Natural Teeth:
    If you prefer to keep your natural teeth without veneers, orthodontics can gradually shift the position of your teeth to give you a straighter smile.

  • Long-term Solution:
    Unlike veneers, which can wear down and require replacement, orthodontics offers a longer-lasting treatment for problems of misalignment and crowded teeth.

While orthodontics can take more time to achieve desired results than veneers, they offer long-term treatment for various dental issues. Remember, your dentist is your partner in this journey, so always feel free to discuss your options to arrive at the most suitable decision for your smile.

Comparing Dental Veneer Alternatives

Now that we’ve journeyed through various alternatives to dental veneers, let’s take a moment to compare them side by side. This will help you get a clearer picture of your options and consider which one might be the right fit for your dental needs.

Dental Procedure




Aesthetic Results

Teeth Bonding


Lasts a few years with proper care

Requires regular check-ups and possible touch-ups

Can greatly improve the look of your teeth, but not as much as veneers

Dental Crowns

up to $2,100

Can last many years with proper care

Requires regular check-ups and possible replacement after 7-15 years

Can greatly improve the look and function of a damaged tooth

Teeth Whitening

Take-home teeth whitening kit: up to $610

In-office bleaching: up to $260 per tooth

Lasts a few months to a few years, depending on lifestyle factors

Requires repeat treatments for maintained results

Can greatly enhance the brightness of your smile

Tooth Contouring and Reshaping

Up to $200 per tooth

Permanent, as it involves removal of tooth enamel

Requires regular dental check-ups

Can subtly improve the shape and look of your teeth


Traditional metal braces: $4,500 – $8,000

Ceramic braces: $5,000 – $8,500

Lingual braces (single arch): from $7,500

Lingual braces (full treatment): approximately $12,500

Invisalign minor treatments: from $4,500

Invisalign full treatments: $6,000 – $9,000

Long-lasting with continued retainer use

Requires regular check-ups and adjustments during treatment and retainer use after treatment

Can greatly improve the alignment and appearance of your teeth

Please remember that while we’ve done our best to provide general information on costs, durability, and results, these can vary based on your specific dental needs and your dentist’s experience. It’s always important to have a detailed discussion with your dentist to understand the right course of action for you.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Dental Veneer Alternative

The road to a healthy, bright smile is not a one-size-fits-all journey. Each person’s path will be unique, shaped by their specific dental needs and lifestyle habits. Therefore, when choosing a dental veneer alternative, there are several factors that you need to consider.

Assessing Your Dental Health

First off, let’s talk about your dental health. It’s the foundation of any decision related to your smile. Here are some points to keep in mind:

  • Consider the condition of your teeth:
    Are they healthy, or do you have issues like decay, chipped teeth, or tooth sensitivity?

  • Reflect on your oral hygiene habits:
    Do you brush and floss daily? Do you visit the dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings?

  • Think about your past dental work:
    Have you had restorative procedures like fillings or crowns?

Evaluating Your Lifestyle and Habits

Next, it’s time to think about your lifestyle and habits. These factors can significantly influence the longevity and effectiveness of your dental treatment.

  • Diet and drinking habits:
    Foods and drinks high in sugar or acids can affect your dental health. Tea, coffee, and red wine can stain your teeth.

  • Smoking:
    Smoking can cause discolouration and other dental health issues.

  • Sports and physical activities:
    If you play contact sports, consider whether the treatment will be at risk of damage.

Consulting With Your Dental Care Professional

Finally, never underestimate the value of a good chat with your dentist. They can provide guidance tailored to your specific circumstances.

  • Discuss all the options:
    Talk about the different alternatives to dental veneers, including their benefits and potential drawbacks.

  • Understand the procedures:
    Ask about what each procedure involves, the recovery process, and any potential risks.

  • Clarify the costs:
    Dental treatments can be costly, so it’s important to understand the financial commitment you’re making.

Remember, the goal is to choose a treatment that will give you a healthy, beautiful smile while suiting your lifestyle and budget. So, take your time to consider these factors, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Maintaining Your Dental Veneer Alternatives

Once you’ve chosen your dental veneer alternative and completed the procedure, the journey doesn’t stop there. To keep that fresh, radiant smile, you need to care for and maintain your new dental work. Let’s explore the steps you can take to make your treatment results last and keep your smile looking great.

Proper Oral Hygiene and Care

Proper oral hygiene and care are the foundation of good dental health. They are even more crucial when you’ve had dental work done. Here’s why:

  • Removal of plaque and food particles:
    Consistent brushing and flossing are crucial in eliminating plaque and food debris, which, if neglected, could result in tooth decay and gum-related conditions.
  • Prevention of stains:
    Some treatments, like teeth whitening, can be susceptible to staining. Brushing twice a day and flossing daily can help keep your teeth free from stains.

  • Protection of your dental work:
    Dental procedures are an investment, and proper oral hygiene helps to protect that investment and prolong the lifespan of your dental work.

Regular Dental Check-ups and Maintenance

Next up, we have regular dental check-ups and maintenance. Your dentist is a key player in the maintenance of your dental work.

  • Early detection of issues:
    Regular check-ups allow your dentist to spot potential problems early before they require more extensive treatment.

  • Professional cleaning:
    Dentists and hygienists have tools and techniques to clean areas that are hard to reach with daily brushing.

  • Maintenance of dental work:
    Dental treatments can sometimes need adjustment or repair. By having regular dental visits to your dentist, you can maintain the prime condition of your dental work.

Tips for Preserving Your Dental Work

Lastly, here are some handy tips to help preserve your dental work and keep your smile looking brilliant:

  • Avoid hard or sticky foods:
    These can damage dental work like crowns or bonded teeth.

  • Don’t use your teeth as tools:
    Opening packages or bottles with your teeth can lead to chips or cracks.

  • Wear a mouthguard for sports:
    This can protect your teeth and any dental work from damage.

  • Limit staining foods and drinks:
    Coffee, tea, red wine, and berries can stain teeth, particularly after whitening treatments.

With the right care and maintenance, your dental work can last for years, helping you to maintain a healthy, bright smile. You’ve made an investment in your dental health, so it’s important that you make it last.

Final Thoughts

Dental veneers are not the only path to a brighter smile. With dental crowns, dental implants, teeth whitening, orthodontics, and tooth contouring all in the mix, you’ve got a range of options to consider. Each one has its pros and cons, and it’s all about finding the right treatment for you.

That said, these decisions shouldn’t be made alone. It’s important to talk with a dental care professional who can guide you through the process, taking into account your dental health, lifestyle, and goals for your smile.

Now’s the time to take the next step on your journey to a more brilliant smile. Please book an appointment with us at Hills Family Dental Centre. Our friendly team is ready to answer your questions and help you explore your options. You can book directly through our website or give us a ring.

Let’s get you on the path to a healthier, brighter smile. Remember, at Hills Family Dental Centre, we’re all about creating smiles that light up the room. So, don’t wait; reach out to us today, and let’s start your journey to a beautiful smile!