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Porcelain vs Composite Veneers: Which Are Better for You?

Ever find yourself hiding your smile because of discolored, chipped, or crooked teeth? Well, consider veneers to give yourself a confidence boost and put your smile on full view.

Veneers can hide an array of dental imperfections. You might be a candidate for veneers if your teeth have chips, slight gaps, overlaps, or stains that don’t respond well to tooth whitening.

But what type of veneer would be a good fit for you: porcelain or composite? Though your dentist can advise you on the best cosmetic treatment for your situation, educate yourself on veneers before booking your appointment.

What Are Veneers?

Veneers are custom-fit, fingernail-like shells your dentist permanently bonds to the fronts of your teeth.

Made of thin layers of either porcelain or a strong composite resin, veneers retain more of your natural teeth than dental crowns. Plus, veneers are less invasive than crowns, commonly used to strengthen heavily decayed or broken-down teeth.

Dental insurance usually doesn't cover veneers because they are considered cosmetic dentistry. But they might be worth the expense for a movie-star smile.

What Are Porcelain Veneers?

Porcelain veneers that match the shape and color of your permanent teeth look so natural that it's difficult to tell them apart from your other teeth. Other benefits to porcelain veneers: They're strong, stain-resistant, and long-lasting with a lifespan of 10-20 years.

If you opt for porcelain veneers, keep in mind:

  • The procedure is irreversible because your dentist will remove some of your tooth's enamel to place the veneer on the tooth.
  • Cost estimates range from $925 to $2,500 per tooth, according to the Consumer Guide to Dentistry.

Porcelain Veneer Application Procedure

If you opt for porcelain veneers, you'll need to visit your dentist two-three times to complete the procedure.

  1. Schedule an initial consultation with your cosmetic dentist to determine what improvements you hope to achieve. The dentist may create a cosmetic imaging mock-up, allowing you to preview your new and improved smile.
  2. Once you've agreed on a plan, your dentist will remove a small amount of enamel from the fronts and sides of the teeth that will receive veneers.
  3. Impressions of your teeth will be taken, and their correct shade determined.
  4. You might receive temporary veneers on your teeth until the permanent ones arrive.
  5. Your teeth impressions and shade color go off to a lab that will make your veneers within one to two weeks.
  6. When the lab sends back the veneers, you and your dentist will confirm that the shape, fit, and color are perfect. Then, your dentist will bond the finished veneers to your teeth with a light-sensitive resin.

What Are Composite Veneers?

Composite resin is a less expensive material that's also tooth-colored and frequently used for veneers.

Compared to its porcelain counterpart, composite resin veneers might wear down quicker, resulting in a shorter lifespan of five to seven years. However, they're easier to repair and cost between $250 and $1,500 per tooth, as noted by the Consumer Guide to Dentistry.

If your composite needs to be made in a lab, the procedural steps are the same as with porcelain veneers. (See above.)

However, composite veneers require less or no enamel removal. Your dentist might be able to make and place them during a single visit.

Single-Visit Composite Veneer Application Procedure

  1. Your dentist, with your consultation, will choose a shade and then sculpt the material directly on your teeth to build the veneer that fits your smile.
  2. A high-intensity light hardens the composite.
  3. The finishing touch is smoothing and polishing the composite resin until it attains a natural appearance.

Committing to Veneers

Veneers are a permanent commitment, so be sure that you're fully informed about your options before deciding what material is best for you.

By working closely with your dentist, you can determine if you're a good candidate for veneers. If you are, get ready to turn the world on with your smile.

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This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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