Most dental services fall into a wide price range. Veneers are no exception.
If you want to bring the cost of veneers down, you first need to understand them. That’s why we go dive deep into the different variables that can affect that price. Then we provide you with tools to save money on veneers.
Read to the end and apply what you learn. You will surely reduce your dental veneer costs.
How Much Do Veneers Cost?
In most cases, veneers (also called dental laminates) are a cosmetic procedure.
Dental veneers cost $250-2,500 per tooth, depending on whether you choose composite, porcelain, or ultra-thin laminates (Lumineers). Discounts for multiple teeth are rare.
This means that having the front six teeth on the top or bottom would cost six times as much as a single tooth; having all twelve teeth front treated would cost twelve times as much. This is about the only straightforward aspect of predicting veneer costs.
And you can’t count out unique circumstances in your own mouth.
However, the type of veneers you choose affects price more than any other factor.
Today, there are three common type of dental veneers.
Composite (Direct) Veneer Costs
If you really need low-cost veneers, consider composite.
Composite veneers cost $250-1,500 per tooth. The range may be wide, but you can expect composite veneers to be about half the price of porcelain veneers in any given situation.
One reason for the relatively low cost of composite veneers is that they can be fabricated in the dentist’s office. This only requires one appointment, whereas other types usually require two. Your dentist saves both time laboratory fees.
The money saved up front comes with a price though. Composite bonding does not last nearly as long as porcelain—five to seven years is an optimistic estimate. Sometimes, composite laminates don’t make it two years. Plus, porcelain looks better.
Yet, composite veneers require much less tooth reshaping (if any). This means that composite bonding is potentially reversible. Replacement and repair costs are also lower as well.
Porcelain (Indirect) Veneer Costs
Porcelain is the most common dental laminate material.
Porcelain veneers cost $500-2,500 per tooth, with an average around $1,000. This may not include the cost of dental contouring. However, their 10 to 15 year lifespan may save you money in the long term on repair and/or replacement costs.
Traditional porcelain laminates are about .5mm thick. Thin, yes. But that is still thick enough to require significant tooth filing in most cases.
Such dental contouring makes traditional porcelain veneers irreversible most of the time. That’s not usually a problem, as most people want their changes to be permanent. Just do your due diligence before making a buying decision.
The procedure itself must be performed over two visits. In between them, a ceramist will create custom veneers in a dental laboratory. The better (or more specialized) the lab, the better your laminates will turn out.
If you really want to improve your smile, it’s important that you prioritize quality along with price.
Lumineer & Other Ultra-Thin Veneer Costs
Ultra-thin veneers offer several advantages over traditional porcelain laminates.
According to their website, Lumineers cost $800-2,000 per tooth. Usually, the total cost of ultra-thin veneers is about the same as the total cost of traditional porcelain veneers.
Lab fees for Lumineer, DURAthin, Vivaneer, and other ultra-thin brands are more expensive than lab fees for traditional veneers. But the costs balance out due to reduced tooth reshaping costs. You can usually avoid anesthetics as well.
All-in-all, ultra-thin veneers show few disadvantages over the other types.
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Veneer Repair and Replacement Costs
Repair and replacement costs for veneers are an important factor to consider when choosing a tooth restoration procedure.
No dental appliance lasts forever.
Veneers may last over twenty years. But you should plan on needing to replace them within ten. If you’re in your twenties, this may mean you’ll need new veneers six or more times in your life. If you’re in your forties, you’ll probably need two or three.
It will still take two visits, laboratory expenses, and about the same amount of time.
If your teeth do not need to be reshaped again, you might save some money. Your dentist is likely to look in their computer system and make your replacement quote the same as the original procedure.
With your original billing records, you may be able show that your replacement procedure should be slightly less. Just remember that the veneer itself accounts for most of the fees.
If your veneer has simply fallen off, your dentist may be able to reapply it. If possible, it could would save you money. It is also risky: increasing the chances for decay in your underlying natural tooth.
The best way to save money on veneer replacement costs is through proper dental hygiene. Taking good care of your “new” teeth increases the chance of long-term success for any dental restoration.
The longer you can make your veneers last, the more money you will save. Each new application adds strain on your teeth. Eventually, wearers of veneers are destined for more invasive tooth restoration.
You should factor in the cost of dental crowns ($-) and dental implant cost ($-) in the long term. Getting veneers at a young age makes these eventual costs more likely. Ultra-thin veneers require less tooth sculpting and therefore may help you avoid them.
Different fees associated with dental procedures are part of what makes it hard to narrow the price range.
In the case of indirect dental laminates, you might have to pay for temporary veneers while you wait for your laminates to return from the dental lab. They might be included or billed separately. They might also be unneeded. Find both out.
There are also a variety of other charges you may incur along the way.
Initial exams start out at $50-200 but may increase due to X-rays ($25-250). Local anesthetic during the procedure and prescription medicines after may also add to the your total costs.
Keep track of how you are billed for these different services. Some may be included in the procedure. One of your main goals should be to avoid surprises.
The Case for Paying More
Now, it may be that you want a long-lasting, high-quality smile upgrade at an affordable price.
This may be possible but it’s important to know where you should and shouldn’t look to cut costs. If you want a smile that looks real, you need a skilled dental professional who works with a skilled ceramist.
You want a dentist with plenty of experience placing veneers. Not only does skill grow with experience, but so does the relationship between the dentist and dental lab. This means better looking teeth, that last longer.
In this way, choosing a cosmetic dental specialist may save you money in the long run. At least, you can be more confident in the quality of the final product.
You can find cosmetic dentists through the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, an organization that offers education and accreditation. There are others as well, but the AACD is the best known.
Whatever you decide, just remember that cheap veneers look like cheap veneers.
How to Find Inexpensive Veneers
Due to the mostly cosmetic nature of veneers, it is harder to find help paying for veneers than other dental procedures.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to find inexpensive veneers.
In fact, keep reading and you will find several of strategies that will help you lower your out-of-pocket dental laminate costs.
Will the Government Help Pay for My Veneers?
Short and sweet:
Medicare and Medicaid will not help you pay for dental veneers.
Your only chance would be if you are 21 or younger and qualify for Medicaid’s Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment (EPSDT) benefit.
Those who qualify for the EPSDT may receive aid if the veneers can be proven to be medically necessary. For example, you might get help for a veneer that is putting you at risk for decay. Your dentist can help you identify whether this is a possibility for you.
The vast majority of people should seek help elsewhere.
Dental insurance is the most common way to help manage dental costs.
However, most dental insurance plans do not provide benefits for cosmetic procedures such as dental veneer placement. Again, there may be issues that qualify as medically necessary.
Whether with the insurance company or the government, it falls on your dentist to make the case that a dental laminate will solve a health issue.
Still, your policy might not cover veneers, ever.
On the other hand, some policies make special exceptions. For example, there are some policies that will cover veneers for children who suffer from severe tooth staining caused by fluoride or other compounds.
There are some insurance plans that cover veneers but you can expect to pay inflated premiums. Plus, they will only cover a percentage of the procedure.
Most people need another option.
Dental Discount Memberships
You might consider this one your first ray of hope.
Though not as well known as insurance, joining a discount dental membership plan is probably the most reliable way to lower the cost of veneers.
These memberships have many advantages over most dental insurance plans.
Even if your veneer placement is to rectify a health issue, most dental insurance plans have yearly limits of $1,000-1,500. This may only put a small dent in the price of veneers.
Dental discount plans allow a set discount on an unlimited number of procedures. Yearly dental costs do not matter. All that matter is the rate of your discount.
You can find dental discount plans with discounts of up to 60%.
Dental schools are a great place to find all sorts of reduced-cost dental services.
However, veneers might not be the best candidate for this strategy. No one wants a trainee for a cosmetic procedure. As mentioned before, the skill of your dentist makes a big difference in terms of final appearance.
However, some dental schools offer faculty and postgraduate clinics. Here, you may find a licensed professional you can trust. Keep in mind that the discount will be less than if you went with an undergraduate.
Either way, you may not be able to find a dental school in your area that offers veneer placement to the public. You are more likely to find them at schools that have strong continuing education programs. You may also have to contend with a waiting list.
If you handle risks well, it’s worth looking into. But be sure that you make a decision based on trust, not just your wallet.
Dental Tourism & Veneers
The idea of this might scare you.
However, flying to Europe or Asia for a quick dental procedure is becoming more and more commonplace. Once you hear about the rates, you might see why.
As always, do your due diligence. You’ll want to make sure that you have a full understanding of any quote you receive. No one likes surprise charges—much less when traveling outside the country.
Obviously, you’ll need to factor in traveling costs and do some research about medical tourism. You also need to take a look at the timetable associated with laminate placement. Ultra-thins may make no-drill, one-day placements an option.
Just don’t let the novelty scare you away. This could be the single biggest way for many people to save money on dental laminates. Do the research and see if it could be a fit for you.
The cosmetic nature of veneer placement makes it more difficult to find help paying for them.
Many dental services are supported by municipal, charitable, or other local organizations. Inexpensive dental clinics are more common than you may think. However, you probably won’t find veneers offered at any of these.
There is a possibility you can find low-cost (or even free) veneer placement. But it will take determination and a little luck.
Want to do the digging yourself? These links may help:
- Your local United Way likely has info about free clinics.
- Search for your state and municipal health departments.
- Some state health programs may help.
- Veterans may receive aid through A Soldier’s Smile.
- The AACD’s Give Back a Smile helps domestic abuse victims.
- You can also apply for a Cosmetic Dentistry Grant.
- Search for “veneers” or “smile reconstruction” at ClinicalTrials.gov.
Your chances depend on where you live and other factors. But many of these options are worth looking into if you’re serious about saving money on veneers.
After exhausting all of the options above, all that is left is determination and a little cleverness. Luckily, some of these tactics can be the most powerful.
Finding and Choosing
Oftentimes, people pay more for dental services just because they don’t know any better.
You can save a lot of money when you know how to leverage research and people skills properly. Negotiation seems like a lost art in American society today. Those who remember its power can get deals that no one else does.
It’s really a two step process.
1) Know your stuff.
If you can do these two things, you’re bound to save something. And the best part is that you get better at it the more you try. When looking for low-cost veneers, remember that much of the variety in price is due to marketing or reputation.
Use these strategies to leverage that to your advantage:
Scope your area. Location is a crucial factor for many businesses. Dental practices are one of these businesses. In their case, it is more about property values than foot traffic. Smaller offices on poorer sides of town usually offer better rates. Often, the quality is just as high as the work of the most well known dentist in your city.
Look for “hungry” dentists. There are plenty of good dentists that have a hard time getting their name out. New practices, those with outdated marketing, or small practices are often the weakest links. Looking on the third page of Google search results or visiting a dentist you’ve never seen advertise may help you save big.
Sort through one-offs and packages. When you do research, you may find that a prosthodontist near you offers great rates on dental contouring but a Lumineers specialist near you offers the best rates on placement. You could get the procedures separately or inform either of what you found and see if they will compete on price.
Once you know your stuff, ask. The number one rule in negotiation is to ask for what you want. As fundamental is it seems, this is where most people miss the boat. Establish what you know and the tune may change quickly. Dental margins are high and most dentists can afford to cut you some slack. But you have to be willing to ask.
Try to pay cash. Cash is powerful when negotiating rates for dental services. This is especially true for cosmetic procedures where there are fewer public and private opportunities to shoulder the burden of cost. You save your dentist money by paying cash. Follow the step before this one and they may pass those savings directly to you.
If you’re young, choose ultra-thin. Lumineers and their competition have one major advantage Ultra-thin veneer placement is much easier on your natural teeth, as the process can often be completed without any contouring. Ultra-thins delay the need for crowns for those who will need several veneer replacements over their lifetime,
Incorporate these strategies into your hunt for the best veneers at a low price and it will be hard not to save money. Patience and determination are key, but they pay off in the end.
The biggest key is to gather as much information as possible. Then it comes down to being brave enough to use it.
By now, you’re probably tired of thinking about dental veneers.
Rest, recharge, then begin the process of seeking out the best options for you. Apply the tactics we have laid out here and you have a great chance to get the veneers you want at a price you can afford.
All it requires is a little work. And you are the only one who can put it in.