If you are unhappy with the way your teeth look, dental veneers could be a good option. Veneers can be very effective when it comes to correcting teeth that are crooked or badly shaped, teeth that are broken or chipped, and teeth that are spaced too far apart. There are two types, porcelain and composite veneers. When done well, both types can give you a beautiful smile, but what are the differences? How do you know which one is right for you?

Composite Veneers

Modern composite materials can provide a life-like, beautiful appearance that is non-destructive to the tooth structure and can last for a long time.

With composite veneers, a tooth coloured filling material, which is matched with your natural tooth shade, is applied in layers to the tooth surface and sculpted directly in your mouth to achieve the desired aesthetic appearance.  Composite veneers are used in situations in which there is chipping or discoloration of natural teeth.  They are also used where there are minor misalignments of teeth, to give the appearance of straighter teeth.

Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers are thin shells (a little like false finger nails but for teeth), that are custom made to fit directly over your teeth.

Porcelain veneers create a very life-like and natural tooth appearance. The translucent properties of the porcelain allows the veneers to mimic the light handling characteristics of enamel giving it a sense of depth.  Porcelain veneers are used to recreate the natural look of teeth, while also providing strength and resilience comparable to natural tooth enamel.

Composite veneers vs Porcelain

  • Porcelain veneers resist everyday staining from cigarette smoking, tea, coffee, red wine and other dark or richly coloured liquids or spices, unlike Composite veneers which can discolour and stain over time.  Although with modern materials this is minimal.
  • Porcelain veneers cannot be repaired. If they break porcelain veneers must be replaced, whereas Composite veneers can be repaired by your dentist in one visit.
  • Porcelain veneers are durable and can last for many years, usually 10-15 years, if you take good care of them using a good oral hygiene home care routine. Composite veneers will need to be refreshed or replaced more frequently, as the resin material used is not as strong as porcelain.
  • Porcelain veneers are more expensive than composite veneers, they require a dental laboratory to make them and therefore cost more.
  • Porcelain veneers are made in a dental laboratory and therefore require at least two visits to prepare and fit the veneers.  Composite resin veneers are accomplished in one visit and are made chair side by a dentist.
  • Porcelain Veneers require removal of some of the tooth surface, once a tooth has been prepared for a veneer that tooth structure has been damaged and the preparation to the tooth is irreversible.  Composite veneers bond directly on to the tooth surface and are therefore not damaging or destructive to the tooth at all.

Learn more about how composite or porcelain veneers could benefit you by booking a free consultation at Churchfield Dental Centre.

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