dental implants

Composite vs. Porcelain Veneers

If you’re feeling self-conscious about the condition of your teeth and smile, your dentist may recommend dental veneers to make your smile brighter and help you gain confidence. Veneers are very thin layers of porcelain, tooth-colored material that are custom-designed and bonded to the front surface of your teeth to improve their appearance.

Dental veneers are both a cosmetic and restorative treatment because they correct a wide range of problems, including:

  • Filling gaps between your teeth – If you’re conscious about a large space in the middle of your smile, veneers can be bonded on top of the teeth adjacent to the gap to increase their size and shape, and fill the gap.
  • Reshaping teeth – Veneers can be used to cover up common teeth defects on the surface of the teeth, including problems associated with excessive tooth wear due to clenching and grinding that cause the front surface of your teeth to become rough, irregular, and prone to staining. Veneers can also be used to reshape teeth with varying sizes, that are cracked or chipped at the edges, or malformed teeth.
  • Fixing stained or discolored teeth – Veneers can be used to change the shade of your teeth, like when bonded on the bicuspids and first molars, to create a pleasing smile.

Types of Veneers

Veneers can be made from resin-composite, lumineers, or porcelain materials, and cemented to your teeth:

  • Porcelain veneers – a tooth-colored material that is strong, resistant to stains, and looks and feels like your natural tooth, but needs to be fabricated in a dental lab
  • Composite resin – cheaper than porcelain, the shade of composite resin can be customized to match that of your natural teeth, and the veneers sculpted during the same appointment.
  • Lumineers – ultra-thin veneers that are digitally designed and bonded directly over your teeth without any need for preparation (enamel removal). Considered a no-prep veneer.

If you’re using composite resin veneers, the right shade will be chosen and the thin layer applied directly to the prepared site. A high intensity light will then be used to shape the material and harden it in place. Multiple composite layers can be applied, one-at-a-time to achieve the desired shape, size, and appearance of your teeth.

With porcelain veneers, the dentist will make an impression of the prepared teeth and use it to make a mold of your mouth, which will then be sent to a lab to fabricate your porcelain veneers. Temporary veneers will be placed to avoid any sensitivity, and will be replaced with the permanent custom veneers on your next appointment.

The procedure

Both porcelain and composite-resin veneers require the removal of a small amount of tooth enamel from the front surface of the tooth, about 0.5 mm in depth. While composite veneers can be placed and cemented immediately in the same appointment, porcelain veneers need to be designed and manufactured in a dental lab, which takes time. This means that your treatment will be completed on your next appointment.

Patients who are anxious about dental treatments, or have very thin tooth enamel can still improve their smiles using no-prep porcelain veneers. There’s no drilling, no shots, no pain, and no anesthetic used.

Schedule your consultation

Anyone can improve their smile using dental veneers. But it is important to have your teeth examined for other problems that may need to be addressed first before veneer placement. Please contact your dentist to learn more about veneers.