Choosing dental veneers is the first step towards transforming your smile but deciding on the material to use is another. There are in essence two types of dental veneer, composite and porcelain but when it comes to the composite vs porcelain veneers debate, which one is best? which one is more suitable for you and which type best suits your needs?
In this post, we’re going to discuss both composite veneers and porcelain veneers to answer some of these questions. We’re going to explain what they are, why they differ and also discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each. So let’s start with the basics…
What are dental veneers?
Veneers are thin coverings that are applied to the front surface of the tooth. In cosmetic dentistry terms, they can be used to correct a wide range of dental issues including
- Badly stained or blemished teeth
- Cracked or chipped teeth
- Teeth that are uneven in size or shape
- Teeth that are unevenly spaced
They can be made of a composite or porcelain material, depending upon your needs and or budget.
So, that’s the similarities… Now, let’s take a look at the differences
Firstly the way they are applied…
Composite veneers are made from a tooth-coloured material (the same used to construct white teeth fillings) which is mixed up and colour-matched by the dentist and bonded to the front surface of teeth. The whole process can be carried out in just one visit and you walk out with a transformed smile.
Porcelain veneers, on the other hand, are thin shells of dental porcelain which are custom- designed and fabricated either in a dental lab or using on-site 3D milling equipment. In most cases, before applying, your dentist will need to remove a thin layer of tooth enamel so that each of the porcelain veneers sits flush within your smile. In cosmetic dentistry terms, this process is irreversible – In other words, once you decide to have porcelain veneers, you will always have to have them.
On the contrary, with composite veneers none of your existing tooth needs to be removed, therefore if you change your mind at a later date and would like to opt for a different treatment, say, porcelain veneers, then you can.
So, we’ve already established that composite veneers are quicker and require minimal prep work and that your smile can be transformed in as little as one visit….
But are composite veneers the best option for you?
It really depends on what you want out of your dental veneers. You see, if you are looking for a cost-effective, quick-fix solution, then certainly, composite dental veneers could well be right for you.
However, they aren’t without their drawbacks…
Firstly, composites aren’t as lifelike as porcelain veneers. Dental porcelain has a special translucent quality that looks just like your natural teeth whereas composite veneers don’t. For this reason, composites are better for smaller tweaks or changes.
Secondly, dental porcelain is also stain-resistant and can repel stain-inducing foods and beverages like coffee, red wine and curry sauce. Unfortunately, composite veneers can’t, so over time (depending upon your dietary intake) they will need replacing.
Finally, composite dental veneers aren’t as durable as porcelain veneers and therefore aren’t as long-lasting. Typically, a patient can expect around 5-7 years of use whereas, porcelain veneers should give the wearer anywhere between 10 and 15 years because they are far stronger and hardwearing.
That said, it’s a different story if you start using your newly veneered teeth as a bottle opener or ice breakers because…well…they just aren’t designed for that type of misuse.
So in the composite vs porcelain veneers debate, who’s winning now?
So far, we’d say it’s probably 50/50
But let’s see if we can add more fuel to the debate and tip the balance a little more because when it comes to cosmetic dentistry, porcelain veneers won’t be for everyone….
Although porcelain dental veneers are strong, durable and long-lasting they aren’t a good choice for people who clench or grind their teeth. So why is this?
Primarily, because dental veneers are designed to withstand a normal bite force. However, when a person clenches or grinds their teeth, any biting force exerted is typically far in excess of this. So if habitual teeth grinding (known as bruxism) is sufficient to damage natural teeth, it’s certainly enough to destroy bespoke custom porcelain veneers.
The other point to remember is that because porcelain dental veneers are custom-designed, a lot of effort, detail and the latest technology goes into ensuring that the end result is spectacularly good. Unfortunately, this comes at a cost. Typically around $2000 per tooth. When you compare this to composite veneers which cost around $860 per tooth, that’s quite a price difference.
That said, we’ve also stated that porcelain dental laminates last twice as long as composite veneers, so there’s the rub!
Do you invest in your smile initially for the long-term, or do you opt for a cost-effective quick-fix solution that will need replacing at some point down the line?
That is something that only you can decide.
Here at Beyond Infinity Dental, we can help you to make an informed dental decision when it comes to composite vs porcelain veneers. We pride ourselves on honesty and integrity and won’t persuade you to get a treatment if it isn’t right for you. Instead, we’ll explain the facts, talk about the pros and cons and together, you and our team will make the right decision.
If you are worried about the cost of porcelain veneers vs composites then you’ll be pleased to know that we also provide flexible payment solutions across many treatments including dental veneers. This allows you to pay for your cosmetic dental treatment over several weeks or months meaning, you can get the confidence-boosting smile you want when you really need it.
Want to know more?
Book your smile consultation with Dr Jack Yang and the team and let us show you just what we can do. Call us now on (02) 8806 3799.