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Composite vs Porcelain Veneers: Which One is Right For You

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When it comes to achieving a perfect smile, veneers are one of the fastest and most effective ways to improve your appearance. But with so many options available, it can be difficult to decide which type of veneer is right for you. 

Composite and porcelain veneers are the two most popular options, and each provides its own unique set of advantages and disadvantages. To help you make the best decision, let’s explore the differences between composite and porcelain veneers and the benefits that each one can offer.


What are Composite Veneers?

Composite veneers are a type of dental veneer made from a combination of plastic and resin. They are applied directly to the surface of the tooth, layer by layer, and hardened with a special light. Composite veneers are the most affordable option, they are usually a medium-term solution and can require more maintenance.

The first step in the process is to prepare the tooth for the veneer. If your teeth are naturally too small, then no preparation or grinding of your enamel is necessary. Once the tooth is prepared, the composite veneer is applied directly to the tooth and hardened with a special light. The composite veneer will be shaped to fit the contours of the tooth, and then polished to give it a natural-looking finish.


What are Porcelain Veneers?

Porcelain veneers are a type of dental veneer made from porcelain ceramic. They are created in a dental lab and then bonded to the surface of the tooth. Porcelain veneers are more durable, more natural looking and long-lasting than composite veneers, but they are also more expensive.

The process for porcelain veneers is similar to that of composite veneers. The tooth is prepared by removing any enamel that is in the way and shaping the tooth to the desired shape, unless the shape is already too small then your dentist can purely add to the tooth without grinding any enamel down. An impression of the tooth is then taken and sent to a dental lab. The master ceramist will then handcraft the porcelain veneers to the dentist’s specifications and the patient’s desires. Once the veneers are created, they are bonded to the surface of the tooth using a special adhesive. The veneer is then polished to give it a natural-looking finish.


What is the difference between composite and porcelain veneers?

Composite and porcelain veneers are both thin shells that are bonded onto the front surfaces of teeth in order to either protect them, enhance their colour, shape, and/or size, or close gaps between teeth. But there are some differences you should be aware of before deciding which option is right for you.

Porcelain veneers are the more expensive option, as they are made of a type of ceramic material that is highly durable and stain-resistant. They are custom-made in a laboratory and then bonded to the teeth. Porcelain veneers are also the most natural looking and can last up to 15 years with proper care.

If optimal aesthetics and longevity are really important for you, then porcelain veneers may be the better solution for you in the long term.

On the other hand, composite veneers are made of a resin material that is applied and hardened directly onto the tooth. Composite veneers are not as strong as porcelain and generally last about 5-7 years with proper care. They are the more affordable option and can be completed in a single visit to the dentist.

When choosing between composite and porcelain veneers it’s important to consider the health of your teeth. If your teeth are not in great shape, it might not be a worthwhile investment to do porcelain veneers because you may lose them in the near future. 

Below is a summary of the pros and cons of each type of dental veneer.


Composite Veneers Porcelain Veneers
Quick and easy to fit – often fitted on the spot while you’re still in the dentist’s chair! Made in a dental laboratory by an experienced dental ceramist – this process can take longer
More cost-effective – you can achieve a great result for a fraction of the price of porcelain veneers. More expensive than composite veneers due to the involved process
Can stain over time if you smoke or drink coffee, but if polished meticulously they will keep their shine for many years. Highly customisable resulting in a more natural look.
Average shorter lifespan – composite veneers generally require replacement every 5-8 years. Highly durable and stain resistant – porcelain veneers can last between 10-15 years.


Cost Comparison of Composite and Porcelain Veneers

The cost of composite and porcelain veneers can vary greatly depending on the type of veneer, the number of teeth being treated, and the complexity of the treatment. Generally speaking, composite veneers are the most affordable option, with prices ranging from $400 to $1,000 per tooth. Porcelain veneers, on the other hand, are more expensive and can range from $1,800 to $2,500 per tooth.


Maintenance for Composite and Porcelain Veneers

Both composite and porcelain veneers require regular maintenance to keep them looking their best. The most important thing to remember is to brush and floss your teeth twice a day and visit the dentist for regular check-ups. It is also recommended that you avoid biting or chewing on hard foods, such as ice and nuts, which can damage the veneers.

For composite veneers, it is also important that you avoid foods and drinks that can stain or discolour the veneers. This includes coffee, tea, red wine, and dark-coloured fruits and vegetables. Additionally, composite veneers may need to be replaced more often than porcelain veneers, as they are not as durable and may chip or crack over time.


Composite Veneers Vs Porcelain Veneers: What’s The Verdict?

The type of veneer that is right for you will depend on your budget, the condition of your teeth, and your desired outcome. If you are looking for a more affordable option, composite veneers may be a good choice. If you are looking for a more durable, natural-looking option, porcelain veneers may be a better option. Ultimately, it is best to discuss your options with a qualified dentist in order to determine which type of veneer is best for you.

Disclaimer: The material posted is for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Results vary with each patient. Any dental procedure carries risks and benefits. If you have any specific questions about any dental and/or medical matter, you should consult your dentist, physician or other professional healthcare providers.


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Great experience! Dr Warren is a great dentist who is gentle and really experienced. He has a great bedside manner that puts patients at ease!

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