What are Veneers Made From? – Let’s Find Out

Dental veneers are the new advancements in the field of cosmetic dentistry. They are identified as thin, custom-made shells that are designed to resemble the natural shape, size, and color of the teeth. Usually, dental veneers differ from dental crowns in terms of tooth coverage. Dental veneers are typically bonded to the front surface of the teeth. Therefore, they require minimal tooth preparation.

Some other benefits of veneers include correction of minor misalignments of teeth, replacement of weak or damaged enamel, and smile enhancement. Several materials are used to make veneers. Some of the dental materials include porcelain, resin composite, and zirconia.


Every material has a unique set of properties that makes it suitable for making veneers, for example, tooth bonding, strength, wear-resistance, and longevity. On the whole, each of these dental materials brings out the best natural look. Today’s article will highlight the different materials used in making a tooth veneer, its properties, and its benefits.

What are veneers?

Dental veneers are cosmetic, restorative shells that are thin and come in a wide range of shades that match the tooth color. They are usually bonded to the front surface of the teeth and provide a fixed solution for the enhancement of the smile. (1) Dental veneers are used to treat several cosmetic concerns. Some of them may include the following –

  • Chipped or broken front teeth
  • Front tooth fracture
  • Permanent tooth discoloration that cannot be treated with tooth whitening procedures
  • Small-sized teeth that may affect the appearance of the smile
  • Crooked teeth that can be treated without orthodontic therapy
  • People who wish to have an even and symmetrical smile

What are the types of veneers?

Veneers can be classified into several categories based on the type of tooth preparation and material used to make a dental veneer. Typically, veneers are classified as follows –

Based on tooth preparation

  • Traditional veneers – they require some amount of tooth cutting or removal for shaping and preparing to create space for placement of the veneers. Porcelain veneers are usually the most common type of traditional veneers.
  • No-Prep veneers – these types of veneers are not as invasive as compared to the traditional veneers. However, they may still require minimal tooth preparation. No-prep veneers usually include Lumineers and Vivaneeres. (2)

Based on materials used

  • Porcelain veneers
  • Resin composite veneers (3)
  • Lithium disilicate – EMAX veneers
  • Zirconia veneers

what are the different materials used to make veneers?


Porcelain is one of the first dental materials used to fabricate aesthetic veneers. It is typically a medical-grade ceramic that comes in a powdered form and forms a paste when mixed with water. Porcelain is by far the most durable material as compared to other dental materials used to make veneers. Moreover, porcelain provides the best natural tooth looking appearance because of its translucent quality, which closely resembles enamel. (4)

Additionally, porcelain highly resistant to wear, staining, and chipping as compared to other materials. This property makes porcelain an ideal material to fabricate dental veneers for all types of treatments such as worn enamel, genetic defects, uneven teeth, and permanent tooth staining.

Keeping in mind all the essential properties of porcelain, veneers usually cost a little more than other types of veneers. The cost of porcelain veneers ranges from $925 – $2500 per tooth and can last for almost 10-15 years.

Resin composite

Resin composite is one of the most economical choices for dental veneers that involve minor corrections of teeth. Resin composite is a tooth-colored mixture of plastic and glass which can chemically bond with the teeth.

Resin composite veneers, also known as direct composite veneers, can be fabricated in a single appointment. This material is usually sculpted onto the tooth surface and hardened using a high intensity curing light. (5)

Veneers made from resin composite require minimal to no tooth preparation. However, it may require finishing and polishing to elicit a natural tooth-like appearance. One of the prime advantages of composite veneers is that it can be removed and replaced easily as compared to porcelain veneers. The cost of resin composite veneers ranges between $250 – $1500 per tooth.


Zirconia is a type of ceramic that is primarily made from zinc oxide. Like porcelain, zirconia veneers require tooth shaping and preparation. One of the prime advantages of zirconia over other types is its supreme strength that makes this material durable.

Zirconia comes in a wide range of tooth shades. Additionally, it is ideal for restoring a dark-colored tooth as zirconia allows the light to pass through the veneer, which masks the tooth color. However, the shade of zirconia tends to wear off over time. This is one of the reasons why a porcelain finish is usually combined with zirconia to give it a long-lasting natural look. (6) The cost of zirconia veneers typically ranges from $300 – $2000 per tooth.

Lithium disilicate

Lithium disilicate is a glass-ceramic that is ideally used for the fabrication of dental veneers. It has become a popular choice of dental professionals because of its excellent light-optical properties that produce an impressive natural-looking smile. (7)

Some of the benefits of lithium disilicate include superior flexural strength and high fracture toughness, which makes it better in quality. Veneers made from lithium disilicate are durable and often require minimal tooth preparation. The cost of lithium disilicate veneers ranges from $300 – $2000 per tooth.

Take away message

Veneers are one of the advanced cosmetic dental treatments that are used to provide a natural-looking smile. Typically, they are characterized as thin, tooth-colored shells that cover the front surface of the teeth. Veneers are commonly made from porcelain due to its high strength and close resemblance to the tooth structure. However, several dental materials can be used to make economical and natural-looking veneers.


Some of these materials include resin composite, lithium disilicate, and zirconia. Resin composites are typically used for the restoration of teeth that require minor corrections. On the other hand, veneers made from lithium disilicate and zirconia are used to correct the shape, size, and color of damaged teeth.

It is always best to consult the dentist and list out the suitable options when it comes to getting a cosmetic dental treatment such as veneers.


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