Porcelain vs. Composite Veneers

 In Yaletown Dental Blog

The most popular veneers are porcelain or composite resin veneers. Both can be used with great effect to transform a patient’s smile, giving them added confidence.

What are veneers and how are they done?

Just as wood is veneered, or covered to give it an attractive appearance, so can teeth be veneered to make them appear perfect. A veneer is a thin cover or shell attached to the front part of a tooth.

  • Porcelain veneers are stronger than composite veneers and won’t stain or change color.
  • Porcelain veneers are generally considered to last longer.
  • Porcelain veneers take at least two visits to your cosmetic dentist where composite resin veneers can be done in one visit.

The front of the tooth is made a little rough by applying a chemical to make the veneer stick better. The color of the veneer is chosen with care to match your teeth. The composite resin is then applied to the tooth layer by layer. A bright light dries the composite resin, and it goes rock hard. When the last layer has hardened, your dentist polishises and shapes the form of your tooth.

To do a porcelain veneer your dentist may use a local anesthetic, or freezing. A thin layer of enamel is removed to make space for the veneer. A mold is made of the tooth, and a specialized lab makes a custom-made, perfectly matching porcelain veneer. In the meantime a temporary veneer is used to replace the portion of the tooth that was removed. These temporary veneers are very fragile and extra care should be taken when eating and cleaning as they can come loose easily.

The temporary veneer is removed when the porcelain veneer is ready, and a chemical is used to make the tooth rough for the veneer to stick better. Composite cement is then used to stick the porcelain veneer to your tooth.

Porcelain veneers are more expensive than composite resin veneers, but as usual, you get what you pay for, as they usually last longer. They are more expensive because of lab expenses and more than one visit to the cosmetic dentist.

Composite resin veneers are great for fixing discolored or misaligned teeth, or for fixing small cracks or chips, and slight damage. They are ideal for minor cosmetic issues, but one thing that should be remembered is the outcome relies on the ability of the dentist .

If damage is more substantial, porcelain veneers are usually preferred, and your smile can be transformed with laboratory precision.

Not everyone can get veneers

  • If you have gum disease, that should be treated first.
  • If a tooth has very little enamel the veneer won’t stick.
  • If too much of the tooth is missing a crown could be the better option.
  • If you have bruxism (habit of grinding teeth) veneers won’t last.

Some facts to remember

  • Veneer treatment is irreversible.
  • If cavities, or chips appear under the veneer it must be redone.
  • Just like your teeth, veneers must be taken care of.
  • Costs of veneers might not be covered by your dental plan, and you may be responsible for costs.

If you’d like to know more about veneers for your specific issue, we’ll be able to give you good, personalized advice based on your specific situation. Call us now for an appointment!

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