Alternatives to Veneers: What Are My Options?

While veneers might seem like the perfect fit for anyone that wants to improve their smiles, it isn’t always right for everyone. Finding the right solution for a patient’s needs and budget can be difficult but not impossible. In fact, there are many…

While veneers might seem like the perfect fit for anyone that wants to improve their smiles, it isn’t always right for everyone. Finding the right solution for a patient’s needs and budget can be difficult but not impossible. In fact, there are many excellent alternatives to veneer options in the industry. If you’re struggling to love your smile, and looking for something to enhance what you have, you might be interested in some methods of cosmetic dentistry.

In this article, we will look at what veneers are if they could be an excellent fit for you, and the alternatives. To learn if veneers or their options are right for you, talking to your dentist is the best place to start. He or she can look over your current oral health, determine what course of treatment will help you meet your dental goals.

What are veneers?

What are veneers?

Before moving into what a dentist could use aside from veneers, it’s essential to know what they are. Veneers, typically made from composite or porcelain, are wafer-thin material affixed to your teeth’ front. Using a strong adhesive, they are bonded directly to your tooth. In most cases, your dentist will need to file a portion of your tooth to ensure the veneer is flush with your other teeth.

While specific dental procedures are only temporary, such as teeth whitening, veneers are considered permanent. Should a veneer fall out, you’ll need to have it replaced. This is mostly due to the installation process that shaves the front of the tooth down to provide a cohesive look and finish, and a better environment for adhesion. Overall, veneers are considered a versatile treatment and can be used for many dental problems.

When do you need veneers?

One of the reasons dentists choose veneers for their patients is that it covers various dental problems. These aesthetic issues can affect a person’s confidence and lead them to not enjoy their smile. Take a look at a few problems veneers can solve to improve the overall look of a smile.


Cracks most often happen because of accidents to the tooth. These can get worse over time, or cause a tooth to have extreme decay. The result could lead to tooth loss, if not taken care of. Veneers can permanently close up the gap and prevent the crack from spreading or causing tooth decay.


Those who have discoloration such as stains from smoking, heavy-dyed food, and drinks, may find that veneers solve the problem. It’s an instant transformation. Most often, veneers used to correct discoloration are used on the visible front teeth. Though there are more cost-effective methods for eliminating unwanted stains, with veneers, you get a flawless finish with seamless results.

Misshapen teeth

Teeth that have misshapen qualities can benefit from veneers too. From teeth that are too short to those that aren’t as wide as needed, a veneer can fill in the areas needed to create a more beautiful appearance to the tooth.

Minor alignment issues

For teeth that have some slight alignment issues, veneers can conceal the problematic teeth revealing a straighter smile. Instead of one-year for clear aligners correction, the application of a thin wafer-like veneer will deliver impressive results in a single office visit.

Alternatives for veneers

Though veneers can solve many of those issues mentioned above, they aren’t right for everyone. Many don’t like the permanency porcelain veneers mean to their teeth so that there are excellent methods for getting similar results without the worry that it isn’t reversible. Take a look at other cosmetic procedures available that can address cracks, discolorations, alignment, and more.

Dental bonding

Bonding is a simple procedure that dentists can use to correct imperfections. Most commonly, bonding is used for repairing chips and cracks and is quite similar to the materials used to fill cavities.. It is typically a durable resin that mimics that shade of your natural tooth. The bonding adhesive can be filed down and shaped to accommodate a filling and smoothing surfaces. Both bonding and veneers will necessarily “repair” the crack and prevent tooth decay or infection.

Teeth whitening

For those that desire a brighter whiter smile, teeth whitening systems are known for being an excellent choice. These can eliminate tough stains and often lift teeth to seven shades whiter in a single office visit. Teeth whitening is one of the more affordable cosmetic procedures that dental offices offer, especially compared to veneers, but it does have some pitfalls. There are some stains that won’t lift, or areas that can’t be lightened.


A straighter smile can not only improve the appearance of your smile, but it can also help to prevent tooth decay in the future. Invisalign® are clear aligners used to correct occlusions like crossbites, overbites, and more. Typically an individual will need to wear the aligners for a year, sometimes more, to gain a straighter smile. The aligners can then be worn after treatment to prevent teeth from shifting again. Though veneers can fix some alignment problems, it can’t fix all, especially where orthodontic care is needed.

Dental crowns

Crowns fit over the teeth providing structure, support, and prevention against further tooth decay. These are an essential part of restorative dentistry and can also be used for cosmetic purposes as well. When compared to a veneer, the application of a crown is more invasive. However, when there is a medical need as well as cosmetics, a crown is the more preferred option.

Cosmetic contouring/reshaping

Reshaping teeth can be needed due to accident or injury, or because of genetics. Many dentists opt for contouring services. It isn’t as time-consuming, and it’s cost-effective for the patient. Not only is contouring beneficial aesthetically, often it can improve oral health.

With reshaping, plaque and tartar are removed, which contributes to tooth decay. With veneers, many aspects of reshaping can be performed, and these are permanent.


It’s not secret veneers are versatile. They can correct discoloration, alignment, misshapen teeth, and cracks all at the same time. But are they the right fit for you? The best way to know if veneers or other cosmetic procedures are for you is by speaking with your dentist. Because every person is different, their unique dental situation will vary. Dental crowns might work for one person’s condition; it wouldn’t address an alignment issue. Having a personalized treatment plan to address any dental problem you have with appearance is the best route for getting the results you’re looking for.

If you’re interested in cosmetic dentistry, improving your smile, and exploring options, contact Image Dental today. We are pleased to offer various cosmetic procedures to help patients achieve the smile they’ve always wanted. Request an appointment today online or give us a call at (209) 955-1500.

Stephen Nozaki, DDS, MPH, DIDIA

Dr. Stephen Nozaki is the owner and lead dentist at Image Dental in Stockton. He is a dedicated professional born and raised in California's Central Valley. With a commitment to his community, he brings advanced dental techniques learned from extensive education and continuous training from around the world. A third-generation Japanese American, Dr. Nozaki has a rich background that includes international living and a deep passion for both dentistry and outdoor activities. His focus in dentistry aligns with his passion for cosmetics and dental implants.