If you aren’t happy with the appearance of your smile, it’s understandable if you don’t want to wait months in order to see results — which is the case with braces and clear aligners. Veneers offer an instant gratification approach to smile transformations. But how should you decide which type of veneer is best for you?
In this guide, we’ll clarify the differences between snap-on and traditional veneers to help you better understand which may be a viable option for you.
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Snap-on and traditional veneers both transform your smile — but aside from this core similarity, these methods are actually pretty different from one another.
Snap-on veneers are seen as a relatively recent option in veneer treatment. However, they are actually the original product — the instant smile transformations from early Hollywood. These veneers are removable, which adds a level of versatility not offered by other forms of veneer treatment. Instead of being attached to each individual tooth, snap-on veneers are attached to a whole arch (row of teeth) with a tray that is almost like a very thin night guard.
This means you’re in control of how often you wear your veneers — whether you want to reserve your new smile for special occasions or wear your veneers every day.
Additionally, snap-on veneers don’t require dentist appointments as the whole process can be completed remotely. This adds a great deal of convenience to your treatment since you won’t have to have any painful dentist appointments in order to debut a new smile.
Traditional veneers are affixed to individual teeth and are typically more durable and long lasting than snap-on veneers.
Traditional veneers are applied by your dentist. In order to attach your traditional veneers, your teeth will need to be “prepped.” For this process, your dentist will shave down some of your tooth’s enamel. Your enamel is the protective layer of your tooth, and it cannot grow back once it has been worn down. So you need to be absolutely certain you want veneer treatment since you’ll need to stick with it indefinitely.
Both snap-on veneers and traditional veneers are only able to offer cosmetic benefits. These veneers can give you a full smile transformation, but they cannot cause any teeth shifts or treat a complex condition.
Snap-On Veneer Effectiveness
Traditional Veneer Effectiveness
- Suitable for minor issues of spacing, discoloration, and chipped or missing teeth.
- Providers can be vague about their materials, though typically a resin composite or acrylic.
- Lasts between 1-5 years.
- Some patients report discomfort where veneers meet their gum line.
- “Occasional wear” options are available from some providers, offering more versatility.
- Suitable for minor issues or spacing, discoloration, or chipped teeth.
- Not viable for missing teeth.
- Are made from porcelain, or resin composite.
- Porcelain can last up to 15 years, and composite 4-8 years.
- Slightly uncomfortable to have attached, but typically very comfortable afterward.
Both snap-on and traditional veneers can help with chipped teeth, discoloration, and mild to moderate cases of crowding and spacing. However, these treatments differ in their ability to treat people who are missing teeth.
If you are missing teeth, you will be able to use snap-on veneers but not traditional veneers. Since snap-on veneers are worn like a tray, covering gaps from missing teeth isn’t a problem. Traditional veneers are attached tooth by tooth, so it won’t be possible to use this form of treatment if there is no tooth to attach the veneer to.
Material & Durability
Snap-on veneer providers can be quite vague about what materials they use to make their veneers, but typically they’re made from acrylic or polyester resin. Depending on the provider, these veneers can last anywhere between 1-5 years.
The lifespan of your snap-on veneers is largely dependent on how much you wear them. Many snap-on veneer providers permit eating while wearing your veneers, but this will have an effect on their lifespan. Plus, the more you wear your veneers, eating or not, the more frequently you’ll need to replace them. Some providers offer an “occasional wear” option, which can be a good fit for folks only seeking out veneers for special occasions.
Traditional veneers are made of either porcelain or resin composite material. Porcelain is more durable than composite materials. Porcelain veneers can last up to 15 years, whereas resin composite veneers typically last between 4-8 years. Since traditional veneers are attached to your teeth, there isn’t really a way to stretch out the lifespan of your veneers like you can with snap-ons.
Some people report that their snap-on veneers can cause discomfort where their trays meet their gum line. However, if they are made correctly, this shouldn’t be an issue. Also, since these trays usually cover the whole tooth, people sometimes experience a lisp as they first grow accustomed to their new treatment. This usually fades after a few days but is something to be aware of.
Traditional veneers require shaving of the enamel. You will be numbed for this process since it can be uncomfortable. Once your numbness fades, you aren’t likely to feel much discomfort. But the more veneers you get, the more discomfort you may feel. Once your veneers are attached, they should sit comfortably on top of your teeth.
Traditional veneers benefit from being individually attached to each tooth, which means there isn’t usually any uncomfortable gum abrasion.
There is no question that snap-on veneers are more affordable than traditional veneers. Also, keep in mind that the cost of snap-on veneers is for the full smile — whereas traditional veneers are priced by the tooth. This makes the total smile transformation significantly cheaper with snap-on veneers.
Snap-On Veneer Affordability
Traditional Veneer Affordability
- $300-$2,495.00 for a full set of veneers.
- “Occasional Wear” option available with some providers.
- Doesn’t have to be an ongoing expense.
- Additional cost for impression kit.
- $250 to $1,500 per tooth for composite.
- $925 to $2,500 per tooth for porcelain.
- People often just get veneers for 6 of their teeth.
- Financing varies from office to office.
- An ongoing expense due to enamel damage.
A full set of snap-on veneers can cost between $300-$2,495.00, depending on the provider. As we’ve mentioned, these veneers will need to be replaced every 1-5 years. However, since your enamel will be intact, you don’t need to replace your veneers; it’s your choice.
When it comes to traditional veneers, the price is much higher. At $250 to $1,500 per tooth for composite veneers, a set of six could set you back anywhere from $1,500-$9,000. A full set of porcelain veneers can cost anywhere from $925 to $2,500 per tooth, meaning a set of six could cost you between $5,550-$15,000.
Bear in mind, these are not one-time expenses. Traditional veneers will need to be replaced due to the prepping process that wore down your protective enamel. It’s important to think of this as an ongoing expense and only move forward if you think you can afford this price tag over and over again.
Your financing options will vary depending on the snap-on provider you choose, but most providers offer some level of financing. Whether that’s simply breaking the payment into two installments or paying over the course of nine months, you’re likely to find a provider that offers a payment plan that’s convenient for you.
Financing of traditional veneers will largely depend on the dentist’s office where you receive treatment. Be sure to open a dialogue with your provider about what your payment plan options are for your veneers.
Snap-on veneer providers usually offer the option to use snap-on veneers on just a single arch, which can provide significant savings. If you’re only concerned about one row of teeth, this may be a great way to make transforming your smile more affordable.
With traditional veneers, often dentists will offer discounts based on how many veneers you buy. If you’re looking to cover many teeth, ask your dentist if they can offer you a deal regarding the number of veneers you purchase.
Without enamel damage or dentist appointments, snap-on veneers have added immense convenience and versatility to veneer treatment. Though the durability of traditional veneers is convenient in and of itself, snap-on veneers are a much more convenient treatment overall.
Snap-On Veneer Convenience
Traditional Veneer Convenience
- No dentist appointments.
- No enamel removal.
- Can opt out if you change your mind.
- DIY impression kits can sometimes be challenging.
- Must attend dentist appointments.
- A thin layer of enamel is removed.
- Must continue with veneers for life.
- Your dentist takes your impressions, not you.
With snap-on veneers, your process starts at home. No dentist appointments, and no enamel damage. You’ll need to order an impression kit from your provider of choice. You’ll take your own impression at home (they’ll include directions), and once your provider receives your completed impressions, they can begin designing a veneer just for you. After that, your new smile should arrive in the mail in just a few weeks!
Getting started with traditional veneers is more involved than with snap-on options. Your initial veneer appointment will require the removal of a thin layer of your enamel. Your dentist will take an impression of your teeth, and together you can decide what shade you’d like your veneers to be. During this appointment, you will have a temporary veneer attached to your teeth so that you aren’t without a protective layer while your veneers are being manufactured.
Once your veneers are ready, you’ll have another appointment to replace your temporary veneers with your long-term ones.
Permanence is an area in which snap-on and traditional veneers really differ. Since the application process of traditional veneers requires shaving down a layer of your protective enamel, you will need to wear veneers for life to prevent tooth decay. For some, this may not be an issue. If you’re absolutely certain veneers are the treatment for you, then this commitment might not bother you.
Snap-on veneers don’t require this level of buy-in. You can wear your snap-on veneers as much or as little as you like, and when it’s time to replace them, it’s entirely up to you since your enamel will be intact. If you aren’t sure yet if veneers will be the right treatment for you in the long run, then snap-on veneers can be a way to dip your toe in the water before diving all the way in.
Since veneers are purely cosmetic, it’s likely that their appearance is a high priority for you. This is the category where traditional veneers really come out ahead.
Snap-On Veneer Appearance
Traditional Veneer Appearance
- Aren’t quite as natural looking as traditional veneers.
- Can sometimes look odd where snap-on meets the gum line.
- Not as stain resistant as porcelain.
- Sometimes cause the lips to protrude.
- Porcelain is the most natural looking veneer option.
- They are attached to each individual tooth, so there is a higher level of customization.
- Looks more natural at the gum line.
- Porcelain is highly stain resistant.
Porcelain veneers better mimic the surface of a natural tooth and are widely regarded as the most natural looking veneers. Traditional resin composite veneers are still realistic looking but just aren’t as close to the real thing as porcelain.
Some people find the way light reflects on snap-on veneers to be less natural looking than traditional veneers. This is mostly due to the fact that they are one solid piece and therefore lack the natural division between the teeth. Additionally, snap-on veneers can sometimes look unnatural where the trays meet your gum line.
Both types of veneers are customized for you, but traditional veneers have a much higher level of customization. Traditional veneers allow for a dialogue between you and your dentist to discuss what shade, size, and shape you’d like your veneers to be.
Snap-on veneers are based on molds of your teeth, so your veneer trays are sure to fit over your teeth comfortably. You’ll typically be able to choose the shade of white that you’d like your veneers to be, but with snap-on providers, this is usually a choice between three shades of white, far fewer options than traditional veneers offer.
Traditional veneers offer more stain resistance than snap-on veneers. Porcelain is the most stain resistant veneer material, though composite and resin veneers also hold up pretty well to stains. Snap-on veneers can be made with either polyester resin or acrylic resin. Copolyester is more easily stained than acrylic options.
Customer Service Comparison
Customer service varies from provider to provider, of course, but in our opinion, in-person treatment usually provides a better customer service experience. However, many mail-order providers offer competitive guarantees that may make up for this.
Snap-On Veneer Customer Service
Traditional Veneer Customer Service
- It is remote treatment, so you’ll have to talk to a representative over the phone if any problem occurs.
- The provider cannot see if your teeth are healthy beyond what is visible in photos.
- Certain providers offer video call assistance.
- Certain providers offer breakage guarantees.
- You can talk to your dentist face to face.
- The dentist can make sure your teeth are healthy and clean before attaching veneers.
- You can likely receive veneers from a dentist you already see.
- Guarantees vary from provider to provider.
When you opt for traditional veneers, you’ll have the benefit of dentist oversight. If you get veneers from the dentist that does your cleanings, then your cleanings twice-yearly visits are an opportunity to have your dentist ensure your veneers aren’t negatively affecting the health of your teeth. This added oversight can help your teeth stay healthy while you wear your veneers.
Snap-on veneers won’t provide this valuable in-person oversight. However, you’ll be able to access your provider’s customer service center should you have any questions about your veneers. Some providers can set up video calls, but not all.
It’s important to make an appointment with your dentist prior to starting with snap-on veneers. This appointment can make sure you don’t have any underlying oral health issues that could be made worse by veneer use.
With traditional veneers, you benefit from being able to have treatment from a dentist you already trust. If you seek veneer treatment from a different dentist, the nature of these in-person appointments makes it easier to find the right fit for you.
With snap-on veneers, you will be choosing from a number of reputable providers, but there won’t be that same level of personability in your decision making. Most snap-on veneer providers are relatively new, so it isn’t always easy to get a sense of their customer service by reading their reviews. This can make it more difficult to get a sense of whether a given provider might be a good fit for you.
Many snap-on veneer providers offer guarantees on your veneers for a certain amount of time (typically anywhere from 30 days to one year). This can help bring some peace of mind to a big purchase. Other providers offer satisfaction guarantees, which basically mean if you aren’t happy with the appearance of your snap-on veneers, they will try to provide you with veneers that are to your liking. However, these are often pretty limited once you read the fine print, so be sure to dig into the exact terms before you buy.
With traditional veneers, any type of guarantee will depend on your particular provider. Some providers offer replacements within a certain timeframe (assuming you followed their guidelines).
An advantage of traditional veneers is your dialogue with your dentist about the shape, size, and shade of your veneers. This better guarantees that you’ll be happy with the appearance of your veneers, making satisfaction guarantees not quite as necessary for this form of treatment.
What About Snap-On Smile?
So far, the snap-on veneers we have covered in this piece have all been mail-order options. But there is one snap-on veneer option that can be administered in an in-office setting — Snap-On Smile. Snap-On Smile is a snap-on veneer provider that is offered by individual dentists at their practices. Their website can help you find a provider if your current dentist isn’t one.
Snap-On Smile’s veneers are composite resin, which has a more realistic look than most other options. Due to the expert oversight, these snap-on veneers are typically more expensive than mail-order options. Though it depends on your provider, Snap-On Smile can cost anywhere between $1,000-$3,500 per arch (as opposed to $300-1495.00 per arch with mail-order options).
Though more expensive, these veneers tend to be longer lasting than mail-order options — 3-5 years as opposed to 1-5 years. If you like the versatility of a removable veneer but you want an in-person touch and don’t mind paying a premium, then Snap-On Smile may be worth considering.
Which Veneer Should You Choose?
It’s clear that snap-on and traditional veneers differ in many areas, so which one is best suited for you and your unique needs?
Choose Snap-On Veneers If You Are:
Looking to conveniently transform your smile on a budget, without the permanent enamel damage required by traditional veneers.
Choose Traditional Veneers If You Are:
Someone who wants the best-looking smile possible and doesn’t mind paying a premium for it. Just be sure you are absolutely certain you want veneers for life due to the irreversible enamel damage.
Veneers are a rapid way to transform your smile — but it’s essential to find the right type of veneer for you. Snap-on veneers have many more shortcomings than traditional veneers, but their convenience and affordability make them a compelling option for many people looking for a new smile. Traditional veneers are a premium choice. Though this option requires irreversible enamel damage, it’s the most durable and natural-looking.
We hope you leave this piece with a better understanding of which type of veneers make the most sense for your unique smile.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I still get veneers if I am missing a tooth?
If you’re missing a tooth, you will be able to get snap-on veneers but not traditional veneers. Traditional veneers are affixed to individual teeth, so they can’t work for missing teeth as there is no tooth to attach the veneer to. However, snap-on veneers treat an entire row of teeth at a time since these come in trays like a nightguard.
Which are more natural looking: traditional or snap-on veneers?
Traditional veneers are typically viewed as more natural looking, particularly porcelain veneers. Porcelain is able to best mimic the porous appearance of your tooth’s surface. That being said, composite veneers can also look quite convincing. It may simply come down to which look you personally prefer.
Are veneers permanent?
Veneers themselves are not permanent and will need to be replaced over time. However, if you’ve chosen to go the route of traditional veneers, then your enamel will be shaved down and you won’t be able to elect out of veneers. So the veneers themselves aren’t permanent, but traditional veneers are an indefinite commitment due to the enamel damage they require.
I have snap-on veneers; am I able to switch to traditional veneers?
Since your enamel will not be damaged in order to wear snap-on veneers, it’s entirely your choice whether you continue with treatment or not. You have the freedom to switch to traditional veneers or stop having veneers entirely. In other words, choosing snap-on veneers keeps your options open.
Which are more expensive: traditional composite veneers or snap-on veneers?
Traditional composite veneers average about $250 to $1,500 per tooth, and snap-on veneers average about that much for your whole smile. Snap-on veneers are much more affordable than traditional composite veneers unless you are looking to only cover one to two teeth.
I have advanced gum disease; can veneers work for me?
Unfortunately, veneers may not be a workable option for someone dealing with gum disease. Snap-on veneers in particular can cause added oral health challenges, which could exaggerate your gum disease further.
Besides veneers, what options do I have for fixing a chipped tooth?
Dental bonding may be worth considering if you’re looking to fix a chipped tooth. Dental bonding is made of a resin composite that is gradually applied directly to your tooth and shaped by your dentist. This can cost anywhere from $300-$600 per tooth and will need to be replaced every few years, just like snap-on veneers.
Is there an option to get snap-on veneers from a dentist in person?
Snap-On Smile is a snap-on veneer provider offered by individual dentists at their practices. This is a more expensive route than mail order snap-on veneers but can be a good option for someone seeking an in-person touch from their snap-on veneer treatment.
What kind of veneers is the longest lasting?
Traditional porcelain veneers are typically the longest lasting, between 10-15 years.
Can my traditional veneer be fixed if it’s broken?
Usually, if a veneer is broken, it will be replaced, not repaired. This can add to the overall cost of treatment.