composite vs porcelain veneers

Composite vs Porcelain Veneers: Which Procedure Is Better For You?

You may have already decided to fix the appearance of your smile, but now it's time to weigh the pros and cons of composite vs porcelain veneers.

If you have cracked or chipped teeth from an accident or unsightly staining from habitual tea, wine, or coffee drinking, your first instinct is to cover the damage. Up until now, that meant smiling with your hand in front of your mouth or collecting teeth whitening strips. Now, you may want to consider veneers.

Veneers are thin shells usually made of composite or porcelain material. However, this form of cosmetic dentistry simply caps the front of your teeth for a better appearance as opposed to crowns, which surround the entirety of each tooth for strength and protection.


What Are Composite Veneers?

Composite veneers come in two forms: direct and indirect composite veneers. While they both consist of the same composite resin that matches the shade of your natural teeth, the application process and the durability can drastically differ.

Direct Composite Veneers

When your dentist places direct composite veneers onto your teeth, they'll usually layer on the resin and mold them to your teeth. Once molded to the correct shape, your dentist will then use a hardening light and polish them afterward.

While veneers tend to last a lifetime, direct composite veneers are less durable and require more maintenance. However, they're easier for your dentist to remove and repair throughout the years when compared to indirect composite veneers.




Indirect Composite Veneers

On the other hand, with indirect composite veneers, your dentist will remove a thin layer of enamel from your teeth so the veneers fit more naturally. Next, they'll take an impression of your shaven teeth and create your custom veneers in a lab instead of formulating them inside your mouth.

Depending on the sensitivity and the current appearance of your teeth, your dentist may provide temporary dental veneers until the completion and placement of your permanent set. Although these veneers are more pricey than direct composite veneers, they can withstand more damage over time, proving more resistant to contact sports and teeth grinding.


What Are Porcelain Veneers?

Similar to composite veneers, porcelain veneers consist of thin shells that cover the front of each tooth. However, as you can tell from the name, porcelain veneers are made of a tooth-colored porcelain material that is highly stain-resistant.

Like indirect composite veneers, a specialist will create your unique porcelain veneers in a lab after your dentist takes your dental impressions. Within one to two weeks, you'll have your second visit, where your dentist will cement the shells into place.

This popular dental treatment can help to correct a number of cosmetic issues, including crooked teeth, discoloration, and gaps between teeth. A porcelain veneer can also be used to correct larger issues, such as severely weakened or chipped teeth.

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Composite vs Porcelain Veneers: What's the Difference?

Aside from the application process and the material, consider the multiple other factors that can determine which veneer is suitable for your lifestyle. The main differences to look out for include:

  • The longevity of each type of veneer
  • The price range
  • The application time/dental visits necessary
  • The durability for everyday wear
  • The oral concerns each veneer can overcome


Pros and Cons of Composite Veneers

The Pros of Composite Veneers

Composite veneers benefit those looking for a quick fix for their small gaps or slightly crooked, misshapen, or stained teeth. They protect your teeth at a more reasonable price than porcelain veneers; composite veneers typically range from $250 to $1500 per tooth, while porcelain veneers range between $925 and $2500 for each tooth covered.

With direct composite veneers, especially, you'll receive your permanent veneers within one visit. However, indirect and porcelain veneers require an extra visit since experts formulate these shells in a lab rather than in the dentist's office.

What's more, the less abrasive direct composite veneers require no enamel removal and, due to the limited preparations on your natural teeth, you can remove these veneers at a later date.


The Cons of Composite Veneers

Although composite veneers can give you the smile you want faster with less money out of pocket, one primary drawback is their durability. Both direct and indirect dental veneers are porous, meaning that they can stain as easily as your natural teeth. They're also weaker and more prone to cracks and chips, diminishing their lifespan to as low as five years with improper care.

Composite veneers are unsuitable for those with severe oral concerns, including deep discoloration or wide gaps. However, porcelain veneers cover many imperfections, including highly crooked teeth. For these cases, cosmetic dentists will warn against veneers that will further threaten your oral health.




Pros and Cons of Porcelain Veneers

The Pros of Porcelain Veneers

If keeping your natural teeth from staining was hard enough without quitting your favorite drinks, and you don't want to go through that worry again with composite veneers, turn to porcelain veneers. The non-porous porcelain material will prove more stain-resistant in the long run.

Furthermore, the durable material will provide a lifespan up to six times longer than that of composite veneers. In other words, with the proper care, porcelain veneers can last up to 30 years before repairs or replacements are necessary.

Porcelain veneers are also more natural-looking compared to composite veneers that need polishing for a tooth-like finish. A porcelain veneer can even cover up larger imperfections, such as darker stains and slightly more significant gaps, partially due to their custom build and thicker material.

The Cons of Porcelain Veneers

Although porcelain veneers can surpass their composite counterpart in longevity, the porcelain veneer application also means removing a light layer of enamel. Once you commit to this irreversible procedure, you cannot permanently remove your dental veneers at a later date.

It's also important to note that while porcelain veneers can last up to six times longer than composite veneers, they can also be more expensive. In addition, the application process can take two or more visits.


Which Is Better, Composite or Porcelain Veneers?

After weighing the pros and cons, it's safe to say that the veneers that are right for you heavily depend on your lifestyle, commitment level, and financial standing.

For instance, if you're looking for a cheaper alternative that will give you similar results as porcelain veneers with the proper care, look no further than composite veneers. On the other hand, if you're looking for quality with little upkeep, porcelain veneers are the way to go.


For more on the differences between composite vs porcelain veneers or to find the best porcelain veneers in NYC, contact us at 855-2-VENEER today! Want to know if you're a candidate for veneers? Download our FREE pre-Smile Makeover workbook or contact our cosmetic dentistry office in New York or Flint, MI to learn more.

Catrise Austin, DDS