Are there minor flaws in your smile that have been bothering you for some time? Maybe that pesky chip from the fall you had when you were younger or discolouration that refuses to go away with teeth whitening? Then dental veneers may be the ideal solution for you.
There are two types of dental veneers, porcelain and composite. In this comprehensive guide, we’re going to lay down the ins and outs of porcelain vs composite veneers, going into procedures, pros and cons to help you decide between the two. Interested? Read on to find out more about this versatile treatment and if it suits your aesthetic requirements.
Porcelain veneers are thin tooth-coloured shells made of dental porcelain that help cover stains, cracks, and chips. They can also be used to fix tooth gaps and alter tooth size for a more symmetrical smile. Porcelain veneers are custom-made for your teeth, ensuring a seamless match and a flawless finish.
Procedure for getting Porcelain Veneers
The procedure for getting porcelain veneers generally involves:
- The first step is preparing your teeth for the veneers. Your dentist will reshape or resize your teeth and remove some enamel from the front and sides of your teeth to make space for the veneers. Anaesthesia may be required for enamel removal in some cases.
- After the preparation, the dentist will take your teeth impressions to create your custom veneers and help you select a colour that best matches your natural shade. Your veneers can take at least 2 weeks to get ready.
- On your second visit, the dentist will apply your permanent veneers, checking the fit and final look before sealing them with a dental adhesive.
Benefits of Porcelain Veneers
Some of the benefits of porcelain veneers include:
Porcelain closely resembles the appearance of natural tooth enamel, and the veneers are crafted to match the colour, shape, and size of your natural teeth, resulting in a seamless and natural-looking smile.
Porcelain is resistant to staining compared to natural tooth enamel. This means your veneers are less likely to discolour over time due to exposure to coffee, tea, wine, and other staining agents.
While a small amount of enamel needs to be removed to prepare the teeth for veneers, this removal is typically minimal compared to other dental procedures. This makes veneers a relatively conservative option for enhancing your smile.
The entire process of getting porcelain veneers, from consultation to final placement, can often be completed in a few weeks. This is comparatively shorter than orthodontic or cosmetic dental treatments that may require a more extensive treatment period.
Porcelain veneers are crafted to suit your unique needs, allowing you to transform each tooth to your specifications. This gives you a more flexible treatment which can be adjusted to your smile needs.
Durable and Long-lasting
When properly cared for, porcelain veneers can last for many years. Their durable material and strong bonding make them resistant to wear and tear from everyday activities.
Maintaining porcelain veneers is relatively straightforward. Regular oral hygiene practices, including brushing, flossing, and routine dental check-ups, are essential to ensure the longevity and appearance of your veneers.
Potential Considerations for Porcelain Veneers
While porcelain veneers offer many benefits, there are also several considerations and potential drawbacks to consider before deciding to proceed with the procedure. Some of them include:
The process of preparing teeth for porcelain veneers involves removing a small amount of enamel from the tooth surface. This is irreversible, and once enamel is removed, the tooth will always need some form of restoration to protect it.
Porcelain veneers can be relatively expensive, and the cost can vary depending on factors such as the number of veneers needed. It’s important to consider the financial aspect before committing to the procedure.
While porcelain veneers are durable and stain-resistant, they are not invulnerable. You’ll still need to maintain good oral hygiene to prevent gum disease and cavities. Additionally, some habits, such as biting on hard objects or using your teeth as tools, can potentially damage veneers.
Porcelain veneers are not permanent and will eventually need to be replaced, typically after 10 to 15 years or longer. The need for replacement can depend on factors like wear and tear and changes in oral health.
Some people may experience temporary tooth sensitivity after the enamel is removed and the veneers placed. This sensitivity should subside, but it’s advisable to discuss any discomfort with your dentist.
Depending on your specific dental concerns, there might be alternative treatments to consider, such as teeth whitening, dental bonding, orthodontic treatment, or even a combination of procedures. Consulting with your dentist will help you explore the best options for your needs.
Composite veneers are made of tooth-coloured composite resin and are applied directly to the tooth surface. These can be generally completed in one visit because of the application process and are comparatively lower in cost than porcelain veneers.
Procedure for getting Composite Veneers
The procedure for getting composite veneers involves:
- Teeth cleaning to prepare your teeth for the veneer application.
- Minimal to no enamel removal to prepare the teeth for bonding of the composite. No anaesthesia is required during the process.
- Your dentist will then apply the composite resin to your tooth and shape it according to your aesthetic requirements.
- The resin will be set with a light, your bite alignment checked and polished for a natural and flawless result.
The main differences between porcelain and composite veneers are the material, customisation and removal of tooth enamel. Porcelain veneers typically require more enamel removal and may require anaesthesia. Whereas, composite veneers need little to no enamel removal.
Benefits of Composite Veneers
Some of the benefits of composite veneers include:
Composite bonding is generally more affordable than procedures like porcelain veneers or dental crowns, making it an accessible option for individuals with budget considerations.
The procedure typically requires minimal to no enamel removal, preserving the natural structure of your teeth. This makes it a conservative choice compared to more invasive treatments.
Composite resin can be used to address a wide range of cosmetic dental concerns, including chipped or cracked teeth, gaps, minor misalignments, and tooth discolouration.
The dentist can match the colour of the composite resin to your natural teeth, ensuring a seamless and natural appearance. The resin can also be shaped and contoured to achieve the desired tooth shape and size.
Composite bonding provides immediate results, giving you an instant smile makeover.
Reversible & Repairable
If desired, composite bonding can be removed without causing significant damage to the underlying tooth structure. Additionally, if the bonded composite resin chips, cracks, or stains over time, it can be easily repaired or replaced by a dentist.
Potential Drawbacks and Considerations
There are a few drawbacks of composite veneers that one must consider before opting for them:
Staining and Discoloration
The composite resin material used in bonding can be prone to staining over time, especially if you consume foods and beverages such as coffee, tea, red wine, and tobacco products. While resin can be polished and touched up, it may require more maintenance compared to other materials like porcelain.
Composite resin is not as strong or durable as natural tooth enamel or other dental materials like porcelain. Bonded composite can chip or break, particularly if you have a habit of biting on hard objects or using your teeth as tools.
While composite bonding can last several years with proper care, it tends to have a shorter lifespan compared to porcelain veneers or dental crowns. You might need to get the bonding redone or touched up every few years.
Smoothing and Wear
Over time, the surface of the bonded composite can become slightly rougher and more prone to staining compared to natural teeth. Wear and tear can affect the appearance and texture of the bonded area.
While composite resin can create a natural appearance, it may not match the translucency, shine, and depth of colour that porcelain or natural teeth have.
Limitations on Complex Issues
Composite bonding is more suitable for addressing minor cosmetic issues like small chips, gaps, or discolouration. It might not be the most suitable option for more complex dental problems or cases requiring extensive changes in tooth shape or alignment.
Comparing Porcelain Veneers and Composite Veneers
Choosing between porcelain and composite veneers generally depends on your specific cosmetic goals and financial budget. While porcelain veneers offer higher durability and improved aesthetics as compared to composite, they also require more tooth removal. This may not suit patients with dental anxiety or those looking for a less permanent procedure. You should also consider the number of teeth which require veneers as it contributes to the overall cost. People looking for full mouth veneers to correct discolouration or tooth size may have a higher cost and therefore must align it with their budget. Overall, porcelain is more durable and may need fewer touch-ups or repairs. But composite bonding is quicker, reversible and offers fantastic results too.
On the other hand, proper maintenance and aftercare go a long way towards protecting dental cosmetic enhancements and restorations. Your dentist is the best person to advise you on which procedure may be right for you after considering your oral health, dental history and specific needs.
Design Your Smile with our Ballarat Dentists
At Dana Street Dental, we understand the importance of owning your smile. We understand that there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to your smile. What may be a minor or no concern to some may hold more importance for others. This is why we take the time to listen to you, understanding your oral and aesthetic needs to provide bespoke treatments. With a range of cosmetic dental treatments tailored to your specifications for a custom smile makeover or standalone procedures such as dental veneers and teeth whitening, we’re here to help you get the smile you want. Talk to our friendly dentists today for more information.