Composite veneers are a “conservative” treatment – very little of the underlying natural tooth is sacrificed in the treatment process.
The composite material can actually be removed later in life, and replaced with porcelain if desired, whereas the reverse is not possible. Composite veneers provide immediate results and are generally half the cost of porcelain.
Because composite is not as strong as porcelain, signs of wear and discolouration may begin to show sooner. We recommend ongoing maintenance, every six months or so, for polishing, checking and restoring the margins in the event of wear.
In practice, composite veneers lend themselves to fixing more subtle problems such as minor chips or discolouration, or for mild correction of alignment. Because they are so conservative, composite veneers are often recommended for younger people, leaving them with the option of porcelain veneers later in life.
Frequently Asked Questions
Your choice may be determined by your preferred treatment process, your short-term budget and your desired outcome.
The treatment process for composite resin veneers is one of direct bonding to your teeth, also known as dental bonding. (This is the same method that’s used to place a composite filling.) One of the advantages of composite veneers is that they require only one visit to the dentist. Another benefit is that composite is a cheaper option than porcelain in the shorter term.
However, a disadvantage of composite veneers is they are not as strong as the alternative – being slightly porous, they must be maintained more regularly than porcelain and are rarely permanent. They can also lose their lustre after a while, so they need to be polished; and they can discolour, needing to be replaced. These ongoing treatments add to the cost factor in the longer term.
The advantages of porcelain veneers is that they are more natural looking, are more durable and need less maintenance than composite as they don’t change colour or lose their shine. This makes them cost effective in the long term.
On the other hand, porcelain veneers, as mentioned, are manufactured either chair-side or in a laboratory after your initial consultation, and are then placed by your dentist on a second visit.
Your dental practitioner will advise you of any special care requirements for your new restorations, as well as any follow-up appointments that may be necessary to check your progress.
Keeping up a good dental hygiene routine, including brushing and flossing, combined with a scale and clean with your dental hygienist is very important. While the porcelain (or composite) that makes up your veneers cannot decay, the underlying teeth still can, and the teeth are vulnerable wherever they are exposed (at the back and sometimes the sides) and also where they connect with the veneers themselves. One of the benefits of dental veneers is they can protect the underlying teeth against decay. Providing you brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day and use fluoride mouthwash regularly, dental veneers have been shown to resist decay.
It’s important to understand that the cost of any dental treatment can vary between patients, depending on the complexity of the procedure, and who performs the treatment. No two mouths are the same, and so dentists will not necessarily be able to give you an exact cost until they have thoroughly examined your teeth.
Although veneers might be considered expensive, with porcelain veneers costing more than composite veneers, patients are usually very satisfied with the results and admit that the benefits, such as improved aesthetics and (in the case of porcelain) a stronger material far outweigh the cost. There are a few different costs involved with veneers, from the X-rays to the process of bonding the veneers and the cost of the material itself.