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Snap on veneers: a dentist’s perspective and advice

Instasmile before and after headshot

Snap on veneers are a relatively new dental trend.

They are removable veneers that are typically made without seeing a dentist.

As a dentist myself, I have safety concerns about them being sold to people directly from the internet.

I will explain the reasons for this below and discuss alternative options.

Video overview

This video overview was put together by our co-founder Jon Love, who has tested snap on veneers.

A quick explainer about how snap on veneers work

Snap on veneers are a removable alternative to traditional dental veneers. They fit over and around your existing teeth.

Snap on veneers use a thin layer of tooth colored resin to cover up your teeth. These temporary veneers are fitted and removed as and when you like with no need to visit the dentist. They don’t need any dental injections, no cutting of gums or tooth tissue, and no bonding to your real teeth.

Just like traditional veneers, these removable veneers act as a mask over your natural teeth.

There are two main types of snap on veneers:

  1. Instant veneers with an at home reline material. The fake teeth arrive in the post with a type of glue already attached to them, which you mould at home.
  2. Snap on veneers personalised to your teeth. The company sends you impressions to do first. You take the impressions of your teeth and send them to the company. The company then produces and sends you the snap on veneers.

To be clear, in this article, snap on veneers refer to instant veneers where you specifically do not see a dentist. Our co-founder Jon Love has tested a type of these called Instasmile, photos of which are included throughout this post. You can read about his experience in our Instasmile review.

Snap-On Smile is then a similar but different product. It is a branded product from DenMat. It is produced using a dentist prescription and is not referred to as a snap on veneer unless explicitly mentioned.

Before and after of instasmile teeth side profile
Electric Teeth co-founder Jon Love testing snap on veneers

How snap on veneers differ to traditional veneers

The biggest difference is that snap on veneers are a removable option solution. They are attached and removed from the teeth by yourself at home.

Traditional dental veneers are a permanent solution that requires a dentist to bond them to your natural teeth. Traditional veneers are made by qualified Dental Technicians who are registered with the General Dental Council (in the UK).

Traditional veneers normally require some cutting of tooth tissue which might also need local anaesthetic injections. But not in all cases.

They can be made for just one tooth, or you can have multiple teeth prepared for veneers.

Impressions are taken of the prepared teeth and these are sent off to a lab. The dental technician produces a custom made device (a registered medical device) from porcelain or similar aesthetic material.

These materials are picked for their hardness, ability to reflect light, and semi-translucency. This is sent back to be fitted by your dentist. Once fitted, they cannot be removed unless you see a dentist.

Snap on veneers are a removable veneer.

You take and send off impressions to the company that makes the moulds. Someone in their laboratory (not necessarily a qualified and registered dental technician) makes your custom fitted snap in teeth.

These will cover multiple teeth at the same time with no gaps between them. You can take them out and put them in as many times as you like, at home. The material used depends on the company, but has some flexibility to allow insertion and removal without breaking. Over time these can change shape and become loose.

Snap on veneers: a dentist's perspective and advice 1

Snap on veneers – a dentist’s viewpoint

I can see why people may want snap on veneers. In theory, they are an affordable cosmetic option which should not damage the teeth. 

I like the fact that they are minimally invasive — they do not require drilling of the tooth tissue.

But because snap on veneers are not made by dentists or qualified dental technicians, the end product might not be as high quality as you are expecting. The materials used can vary and the final appearance may not be what you had in mind.

Not involving a dentist in the process could mean that you don’t learn about all your options, and not given a realistic assessment of what is possible. I’ve seen some removable veneers companies say the only other option is porcelain veneers, but that is simply not true.

There is also potential for disease to be missed before starting the manufacturing process.

Because there is no regulation over these, we do not know whether they are definitely being made from safe materials.

We also do not know what qualifications the people making these products have. There is no way to know that they are being made in a safe and hygienic way.

Another big concern is lack of transparency by the companies making them. They often allude to “certified technicians” and sometimes even “licensed dentists”. But there is no name associated with these claims, which could be regarded as vague.

Snap on veneers are a risk to natural teeth

The biggest danger and risk of snap on veneers is not taking care of the natural teeth you have. You need to ensure you maintain good oral hygiene standards, even if you are going to wear a snap on smile.

You can get gingivitis (inflamed gums) from your veneers for two different reasons:

  1. Trauma induced gingivitis because the veneers rub on the edges of the gums, like when you get a blister from shoes rubbing.
  2. Plaque induced gingivitis because the veneer edges hide more bacteria and plaque compared to not wearing snap on veneers. This is even more likely if you aren’t cleaning your teeth or veneers properly.

If you fail to clean your snap on veneers and your teeth after eating and drinking, you are also more likely to develop tooth decay in your natural teeth.

If you haven’t seen a dentist before starting treatment, you may not know that you already have gum disease and dental decay. Wearing the snap on veneers will worsen these conditions, so make sure you get any required treatment before doing impressions for snap on veneers.

Some veneers can potentially damage the enamel of your teeth, particularly the poorer fitting options. The constant fitting and removal can cause the veneers to rub against the enamel on your natural tooth. This rubbing of the veneer on the natural tooth surface can be worsened if the veneers allow you to eat whilst they are fitted.

To my knowledge, there is no clinical evidence that backs this up, but reports do exist of damage being done as a result of these products. As a dentist, I am familiar with similar damage being caused by removable dentures.

Snap on veneers might not look as good as you expect

The appearance of removable veneers can vary significantly.

Different companies use different materials. This and the customisation processes all affect the look of your clip on veneers.

Some products are going to look better than others, from the materials used to the actual design, fit and finish. The thickness of the material will vary. 

Be aware that because these are placed straight on top of your natural teeth, they will look bulky. 

The thinner the material the better. Be wary of companies telling you to go for a thicker material to make them last longer. These thicker veneers will look a lot bulkier.

The materials used for snap on veneers will lack the translucency needed to make your teeth look natural. Your teeth are naturally translucent at the tips, and the materials used can’t replicate this.

Removable veneers tend to look dull under the light. They have just one color and lack the polish of professional veneers. Porcelain is the best material for mimicking natural teeth but is not suitable for removable appliances.

You can choose your shade when picking veneers. Unless you can accurately compare your current shade to the new shade prior to purchase you may find the veneers are not what you imagined. The shade on the screen will look different in real life and in different lights.

Very few people actually suit really white teeth. Teeth naturally have a yellow hue to them, so be aware of this.

The plastic used can also pick up stains from the food and drink you consume.

The final thing to really be aware of is just what the veneers look like in relation to your existing teeth. Whilst the alterations can be for the better, the makeover offered by the veneer can look unnatural and very obvious to those who know you.

Close up before and after view of front teeth instasmile

A few things to know about impression kits

Taking impressions at home is generally safe. So long as the material sent to you is the real stuff and is in date, you are unlikely to have a reaction. However, there are some things to think about when doing your own impression at home:

  • You could have an allergic reaction, so beware if you get any burning sensations or ulcers after.
  • Some people struggle with impressions because of their gag reflex. Just something to think about! If this is something you are worried about, make sure you can lean forward whilst you take the impression, and place a towel underneath you to catch any mess.
  • Once the impression is in, you need to leave it there until it is fully set. Removing is toot soon will lead to the material “dragging” and the veneers won’t fit as well as they could do.
  • Impressions can remove loose teeth, crowns, and fillings. This is pretty rare, and they would  have to be already loose. This is another reason to have a full dental checkup before going ahead with any DIY kits.
DIY impression taking with instasmile

Comparing the cost of snap on veneers to traditional veneers

One of the biggest factors that draw people to snap on veneers is their cheap cost. This is in comparison to professional dental treatment such as traditional veneers.

But it is not as cheap as you might think.

The most affordable veneers on offer from your dentist are direct composite veneers. These will cost approximately $250 – $1500 per tooth. The number you need will depend on the look you want and your existing teeth, but expect to have between 4 and 10 per jaw for a makeover effect.

They last about 5 years and require no alteration to the enamel on your teeth. 

Let’s say you were to have 6 veneers on the top and 6 on the bottom row of teeth, that is 12 in total. At $400 per tooth that is a cost of $4,800 in total.

For the sake of comparison, Instasmile Platinum cost approximately $1499 for both arches and come with a 12 month warranty. Even if they last 18 months, you would need to buy 3 sets over a 5 year period at a total cost of approx $4,497.

There is just $303 difference in price.

Given that you can eat all foods and not have to remove the composite veneers like you do the snap on alternatives, is the $303 saving worth it?

In most cases you can even expect you composite veneers to last longer than the 5 years.

Porcelain veneers are the gold standard when it comes to dental veneers and cost between $925 to $2,500 per tooth, but should last 12-20 years!

In my example above, you would be looking at a cost of anything from $11,100 to $30,000 to get porcelain.

Of course, this is just an example, but let’s say you pay $18,000 for 12 veneers at $1,500 each. You can safely assume they last 15 years (if not longer). That would give an annual cost of $1,200.

By my calculations that is approximately $299 less per year than opting for the Instasmile Platinum veneers (with their 12 month warranty).

The reason many opt for snap on veneers is that they are cheaper and more affordable than the veneers they really want, but it just isn’t necessarily true in the long run.

There is a lack of clinical evidence regarding snap on veneers

Although the dental community has some concerns about removable veneers, there is very little evidence available.

This does make it difficult to discuss the issue with patients, because we are relying on our clinical experience alone.

There is also no evidence to support the safety of the direct-to-customer products that are available online.

You should research the complaints procedure before buying

A final comment on why you might not want snap on style veneers from some of these companies is the service received. 

Most of the companies are digital only, with no office you can visit should things go wrong. Some don’t even have much of a telephone service! This is not a problem when things go well, but can make it difficult to get in contact when things go wrong.

Because snap on veneers are provided without using a dentist or registered dental technician, there is also no oversight of the quality provided.

There are few people you can turn to if you are unhappy with the service provided. This is different from a dental practice setting, where there are rules about complaints procedures internally and externally.

How professionally made snap on veneers differ to those bought from the internet

Many of the disadvantages and problems with snap on veneers can be overcome by seeing a dentist before starting treatment.

Seeing a dentist will make you fully aware of any risks, and ensure that any existing dental problems are fixed. They can also talk you through the alternatives to see if there are any better options for you.

When researching snap on veneers, on some of the websites we looked at there was no indication that qualified dental technicians are making these things that you want to have attached to your teeth and your gums.

Having a professional dental lab make the products will mean that they need to follow certain rules (for your own safety) and that the best materials can be used. Selecting the right material for the snap on veneer can drastically improve the appearance, durability and safety of the snap on veneers.

If using a dentist and a proper dental lab, you can also expect the best service. Registered dentists and dental technicians must abide by certain expectations. Therefore, if something is not as you would it expect it to be, you have someone to turn to.

The reasons a dentist would prescribe snap on veneers

Some dentists provide snap on veneers as a temporary option to hide teeth that they have prepared for traditional veneers. These temporary veneers will protect the tooth surface until the permanent option arrives.

It could be that you are going through the process of having dental implants, but you do not want to have missing teeth whilst your gum heals.

You can wear a snap on veneer until the abutment and crown for the implant are fitted. This way snap on veneers are used as an alternative to a denture. A dentist might also refer to these as temporary removable bridges.

Snap-On Smile – the original snap on veneers

I said earlier that Snap-on Smile was another name for these types of veneers.

Snap-On Smile is a brand name of a type of clip on veneer made by US Dental Lab DenMat. These are the best quality snap on veneers. 

They have a patent, and can only be prescribed by dentists. Your impressions will be taken by a qualified professional. There is even the option to use a scanner for digital impressions, eliminating the need for messy and uncomfortable traditional impressions.

The dentist has choices in the size and color of the veneers, as well as full and partial arches. 

Tooth whitening, tooth straightening or composite veneers are alternative options

The alternative to snap on veneers depends on why you want them in the first place. You should arrange an appointment with a dentist to discuss different treatment options personalized to you.

In the meantime, have a think about what your reasons are for selecting snap on veneers rather than a treatment offered by a dentist. A good dentist will have an honest conversation with you about this, and can discuss all the options available.

Don’t want injections or drilling? Think about tooth whitening or composite veneers.

If you want the cheapest option: Take home whitening trays are available from $250 in some places, and composite veneers from as little as $250 per tooth. In both cases, the results will last longer than the life expectancy of snap on veneers.

If you want straighter teeth without injections or drilling, consider orthodontic treatment (including Invisalign).

If you want to fill gaps between teeth, white filling material can be placed without the need for drilling.

Whitening your teeth will take about six weeks by the time you see a dentist, get trays returned and start to see an effect. Composite veneers can be done quickly, depending on how much tooth is covered. Expect it to take 20-40 minutes per tooth.

Snap on veneers are not a good alternative to dentures

Removable veneers can be made so that they are almost like flexible dentures.

These do have some advantages in terms of comfort compared to traditional dentures. It also doesn’t cover the roof of the mouth or get in the way of the tongue. They could be a good short term option after an extraction, until the months have passed and the bone has finished healing.

But removable veneers are not the best option for filling multiple gaps. And they are not an option if you have no teeth at all. 

Dentists will generally advise sticking with a denture over some sort of temporary solution like clip on veneers. This is because the denture is designed to last longer. A traditional denture is able to withstand more pressures and remain in place (in most cases) when eating and drinking.

Before and after close up side profile of instasmile

Take home messages

In few instances would a dental professional recommend removable veneers.

More often than not, the results that these direct-to-customer clip on solutions offer are far inferior to those offered by a dentist.

There is a significant variance in the quality, durability, materials, look and overall results you get from these snap on smiles, not to mention the customer service.

As a temporary solution, professionally made removable veneers do have a role to play. 

They certainly serve a purpose. But when it really comes down to it these cheap veneers are not a viable alternative to the veneers offered by a dentist. They are too fragile, require additional maintenance and simply do not look as good and potentially pose a long term risk to your natural teeth.

These devices normally aren’t made by people registered with the State Dental Board. The laboratories are also difficult to track, and unlikely to have (or even require) and registration, such as with the National Association of Dental Laboratories. Having no oversight or regulation means you cannot be sure of what it is that you are putting in your mouth.

My concerns relate mostly around the actual product and risks with them. There is one company you can use through your dentist who will provide a very similar product. By seeing a dentist you will be made aware of all the potential risks and hazards that manufacturers won’t discuss with you.

There is the risk of reaction to materials, or them being of sub standard quality. Devices like these can also become stuck on your teeth requiring emergency dental treatment. The alternative is that they become loose and are a choking hazard. When used incorrectly, and with failure to keep your teeth clean, you also increase your risk of dental decay and gum disease.

The aesthetics don’t compare to professionally made products. Instant veneers are made of a plastic with no translucency. This will look obvious in the mouth. The plastic is also vulnerable to staining and wear.

Personally, I don’t think the majority of companies are being honest in what they are promising people who buy their products. They are promising a cheap alternative to professional care. Some of the options available are not as cheap as some of the professional options, and will not fulfil the promise of looking good. 

Your opinions

Do you own or have you used a set or removable veneers?

Why did you choose them and what do you think about them?

Are there certain things that you really like or dislike?

Let me and other readers of this article know what you think, by commenting below. Your feedback and opinions are incredibly valuable.

About Dr. Gemma Wheeler, BDS (Hons)

Gemma qualified from Cardiff University School of Dentistry in 2015. She went on to complete her Foundation Training and a further two years in the Armed Forces, primarily based around Wiltshire. She now works in a private practice in Plymouth.

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29 thoughts on “Snap on veneers: a dentist’s perspective and advice”

  1. If it wouldn’t cost me $15,345 for dentures WITH my Delta dental PPO I’d be more apt to consider a more permanent solution. Snap on veneers have come a long way since this was posted, and are a viable solution for someone who just wants to smile for once.

    I have crippling depression from my issues with my teeth. So much so it made me suicidal. If I can spend $600 to feel like an actual human for once I’m going to. I understand the health risks, and I also understand that a more permanent solution is better for me in the long run. If dentures weren’t so unnecessarily expensive, or were actually covered by anyone’s insurance, or at the very least not considered a “cosmetic elective” then there wouldn’t be a market for snap on veneers.

    “Even with good dentures, chewing efficiency is only 16% to 30% of what you can achieve with an intact natural dentition,” says American Dental Association (ADA) spokeswoman Judith A. Jones, D.D.S.

    The purpose of dental insurance is not to cover dire issues, but to prevent them. So one ends up paying out of pocket for most of the work, at least here in the US.

    The bottom line is, proper dentures while probably the most healthy, can cost the average American up to $55,000. This is not a viable option for most people who have bad teeth, whether from genetics or poor hygiene practices.

    Please stop discouraging people from this affordable solution, who may just want to smile for once without feeling like they are less than human. You did go over the pros and cons, but the general tone of this article is that snap on veneers are snake oil that will cost you your health, money, and are generally a waste.

    This is very disingenuous.

  2. I appreciate all of the information you provided because there are so many products.
    Over the last three years my teeth have started falling out. I have a hereditary disease of the pancreas that causes an increase of bile & vomiting, along with several other problems. Unfortunately, it’s progressive & there is no cure. Both my Father & Grandmother lost their lives to it, but with me they caught it early & are trying to stay a step ahead.
    In my past I was a professional cheerleader for the NFL, in pageants, & employed as a flight attendant, and have always been known for my big smile. Now I’ve lost most of my teeth, mainly all from my eye teeth & back, upper & lower, & two front ones that were broke off during a medical procedure due to my disease. So my life has completely changed, I stay home & hate to go out in public. Having to wear masks because of the pandemic has actually been a way for me to hide my horrible teeth!
    I know so many people suffer from much bigger issues than this, but it has completely changed my life. Besides my health issues, I’m now horrible depressed, & it’s also affected my financial situation. We live in a society that’s judged by appearance, & bad teeth gives an impression of poor hygiene & that you don’t care about yourself.
    I have insurance, but it doesn’t cover any of the work I need done. Which is horrible because dental issues have been proven to cause other health problems. That needs to be changed! Because of the cost to get my teeth fixed, it’s not an option for me. At least I haven’t been able to find one. The other hard part is I’m currently single, wanting to meet someone, & know I don’t stand a chance with this horrible smile.
    I guess it leads me to my main question, what does somebody in my situation do who has missing teeth, infected teeth & pain, a horrible smile, and can’t afford to have a dentist fix my teeth? Do I just spend the rest of my life in hiding & alone?
    Are there dentists out there that will do work & allow payments? Or do it for free advertising? Anything??
    Thank you for your help,

    • Erin. Thanks for the comment and for sharing details of your situation. I can only imagine how difficult it must be.
      I believe a denture would be best for you. Rarely will this come free, but it is a more affordable option that will allow you to replace all/the vast majority of the teeth you are missing.
      There are dentists out there that will offer payment plans and some that will discount the treatment in exchange for advertising etc, but it is unfortunately not quite as simple as being able to say this Dr or that Dr will do it for you.
      If you haven’t already done so, reaching out to dental practices within your local community is a good place to start. Most will listen to your situation and advise on what they can offer and potentially guide you to those better able to serve you, if they are unable to.

  3. This is the best article I’ve seen about the snap-on options – thanks so much for the research and discussion!

  4. I really just want a top set of snap on to wear at night, as I have a part denture for 2 missing front teeth..
    Or what else is recommended I ded don’t want implants look to painful & too many visits.

    • Hi Patricia,

      It’s worth speaking to a dental professional to see what your best options are. You should have a dental check up before opting for snap on veneers anyway.

  5. Hi Michael.

    Our recommendation would be to stick with your partial as this is a safer and dentist approved product in comparison to snap-on-veneers.  The choice is of course yours.

    Your eligibility will depend on how many and what teeth you have missing.  If you consult with one of the companies listed in the article, you will usually have to answer a series of questions through the online checkout process with one of the companies to determine whether you are a suitable candidate.  If so, you can proceed.

    I hope this helps.

  6. Are there any veneers you can use when you are missing a good amount of teeth? If so are there any YOU can eat with? If there are any where would the best place to purchase them?

    • Carol.

      If you have a large number of teeth missing then it is unlikely that you will be able to find any suitable veneers because they need some teeth to clip onto.
      The natural teeth provide support, particularly when eating.
      It sounds like a denture would be more suitable for yourself.

  7. Thank you for all the great information on all the different types very informative and a Great Read. I read alot an article has to catch me 1st paragraph or I move on, so for me to sit and read whole article it was great. Thanks Jon.

  8. Thank you so much Jon!! 🙏💖😀 this article helps me enormously. So great to see someone passionate about health, teeth, sharing and caring. I have an appt with a dentist today to fit plastic veneers but this research will help me ask him why he hasnt told me about all these alternatives and why he needs to take the enamel off my teeth to do it. Thank you again Jon and what a great surname

  9. I have a small mouth so when i ordered the platinum straightener 2 archs from instasmile, I received very large veneers that make me look buck toothed and very cartoonish. do not order the thicker platinum veneers if you don’t have big teeth. they are however replacing them with the thinner classic veneers however they are replacing them because there is a warranty when you buy the “double the price” platinum veneers. They only replace them once so lets cross our fingers that this new set will fit.

  10. I ordered a set of veneers from InstaSmile, I got my upper arch but they couldn’t make my bottom arch because I have a permanent retainer on the inside of my bottom teeth. They did, however, give me a full refund.

  11. They sent me top teeth I ordered bottoms. I tried to call every phone number they had on file, every email no reply! no reply! no refund! no reply! My money is just gone.

  12. I have 3 front natural teeth on top but have 5 implants I just cant afford the two bridges I need right. Would I be able to use snap ins? Also on lower I have 5 front natural teeth and a bridge on each side. Can I be fitted on the lower arch as well

    • Hi Larry.

      When you say implants, do you mean with the crown (the white top of the tooth) as well or literally just the metal implant?

      As far as I am aware in either situation it should be possible to make one for you, as the snap on veneer company will make the product exclusively for you based on the impression you take.

  13. Guys, I tried Instasmile’s snap on veneers a couple of years ago. This is a nightmare. They game me an overbite! I tried to contact their customer support regarding this issue, but they would give me a refund or replace. I would not recommend this company. You can search Instasmile reviews in Google and see how many complaints they have: https://www.pissedconsumer.com/instasmile/RT-F.html
    And btw, their rating on platforms other than Trust Pilot is really low…

    • Thanks for the comment Mary, we appreciate all feedback, it helps us and other readers of this site.

      Sorry to hear of what has happened with you.

      We are not actively endorsing any company or snap on veneers and have linked already in our post to the pissedconsumer website that has negative reviews.

  14. You answered all of my questions about veneers and snap on veneers. Thank you!! I’m so ready to smile again without feeling self conscious about my broken teeth! I’m a 37 year old married mother with 3 daughters and I have always been a very smiley girl. It’s breaking my heart that I can’t afford dental work even with great insurance. Here’s to hoping the cheap ones work for me! Thanks for all the wonderful info!!

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