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What is the difference between porcelain and composite veneers?


Veneers are thin casings or shells placed on the outer surface of your teeth with minimal preparation involved. The purpose of veneers is mainly to enhance aesthetics. They are a great treatment option when it comes to correcting discrepancies in size, shape, alignment and even colour when traditional whitening methods just won’t work.

Porcelain and composite veneers are the most commonly used materials for these purposes. So if you have been looking into veneers for some time, how do you determine which one is right for you? Here are some of the main differences between porcelain and composite veneers.

Porcelain Veneers

  1. You arrive for an assessment of your bite and alignment of teeth. Impressions or scans are then taken which we will send off to the lab for fabrication of your veneer/s.
  2. The dentist prepares the tooth/teeth for the final veneer, ensuring to remove any decay or remove enough tooth to mask any discolouration or misalignment of the teeth. We might even choose to build up your teeth to how we would like your permanent veneers to sit, and take a mould of this in order to make your temporary veneer/s.  
  3. The temporary veneers are a great way for you to see how the actual veneers may feel and look shape-wise, and you can even get some input from your family in the meantime.
  4. These temporary veneers will stay on your teeth until we get your lab-made veneers back from our lab.
  5. Once we get them from the lab, we will bring you in to remove the temporary veneers and cement on your permanent porcelain veneers.

Composite Veneers

  1. Composite veneers are done chair-side. We will assess your bite and start preparing the tooth by shaving off a very thin amount of tooth structure.
  2. On the same day, we will be able to build up your veneers with our resin composite material
    and make any adjustments if required, as we go.
  3. Once we are both happy, you get to go home the same day and enjoy your new smile!

Cost

Porcelain veneers are fabricated in the lab, which means material selection, lab-fees and time commitments taken to make your veneers can also bring the cost up.

Composite veneers are a more affordable and pocket-friendly option as they are done chair side.

Durability

Porcelain:

  • Lab-made veneers use materials that are a lot stronger and more durable than composite veneers – provided you take good care of them of course! And we will show you how to.
  • Porcelain veneers are also stain resistant. However, since they are lab-made any chipping or shape/colour discrepancies are generally irreversible.

Composite:

  • Can last roughly 5-10 years if you look after them well. While they are a great option, composite material can begin to degrade and stain at the margins over time.
  • Composite is also a weaker material than porcelain veneers and therefore more prone to chipping and fractures.
  • We can repair composite veneers if they chip/fracture over time by adding more composite to your tooth.
  • Because this is a chairside procedure, any repair work can also be done on the same day!

Aesthetics and Shade matching

Porcelain:

  • Has an array of shades and colours to choose from. We understand that not every tooth has the same colour throughout the entire length of the tooth, and sometimes we may need to pick a few shades for the one tooth for it to look natural. 
  • We will help you do this and can even send you to our lab to make sure you choose the right shade for you!

Composite:

  • Limited in their variety of shades, but we can work with you to get the closest possible shade to the rest of your teeth.

While these are the main differences between porcelain and composite veneers, there is a lot involved in both the assessment and planning of veneers as treatment options. Have a chat to your dentist at Core Dental to find out if veneers are the right choice for you!

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