There are a number of different types of veneers for your teeth, and while they're all marketed as dental veneers, there's a huge difference between the end results. Some can be purchased online, and some of these cost little more than spare change. Others must be applied by a dentist. What are the main differences between clip-on veneers and professional dental veneers, and are clip-on veneers worthwhile?

The Inexpensive Version

Any online search for veneers will return a number of inexpensive results. While listed as veneers, these products are little more than a set of false teeth that clip over your existing teeth, and look like they should be part of a Halloween costume. These inexpensive veneers are pre-made, meaning that they will not have the same shape as your existing teeth. They're also made of plastic, so you can forget about your inexpensive veneers looking realistic. Plastic teeth rarely look natural, which is why professional dental restorations typically use porcelain, as this matches the translucence of your dental enamel.

Mail Order Clip-On Veneers

You might also see companies offering mail-order clip-on veneers. These are of a higher quality than pre-made inexpensive veneers, and you're sent a dental mold kit. You bite into the mold material, which creates an impression of your dental arch. This is then sent back to the company, which will make clip-on veneers customized for the dimensions of your bite. While these may look more natural than the pre-made option, it must be remembered that clip-on veneers are only concerned with esthetics, as opposed to functionality. You may not even be able to eat with them in place, as they're simply sitting over your existing teeth. They are also highly vulnerable to discoloration.

Limited Benefits

So what's the point of clip-on veneers? This is open to some debate. If you want to have perfectly white and symmetrical teeth for the purposes of having your photograph taken, or for a social occasion (one that doesn't involve eating, anyway), then there can be some limited benefits to clip-on veneers. However, if you were considering clip-on veneers to cover certain blemishes on your teeth, you should consult your dentist. 

Professional Veneers

Some dentists will actually make customized clip-on veneers, and these are infinitely more natural-looking than anything you will find online. Your dentist is also available for any necessary adjustments. Rather than clip something on in an effort to conceal problems with your teeth, you can also consider having porcelain dental veneers bonded onto your teeth. This combines esthetics with functionality, and the results are immeasurably superior to anything that can be clipped on. 

You get what you pay for, and when it comes to your teeth, anything that's inexpensive and sold online won't look particularly realistic. It's best to forget the mail order option and talk to your dentist about veneers.