One of the questions we’re often asked here at Beyond Infinity is how long do composite veneers last and how they compare to porcelain veneers?
The obvious answer is that they last longer if you care for them properly but even then, composite veneers will have a shelf life. Typically that shelf life is around 3-5 years.
Understandably. that doesn’t sound very long, but it’s important to note that it’s a very different procedure from that of porcelain veneers, so how do the two processes compare?
Let’s take a look.
Composite veneers vs. porcelain veneers
The primary difference between composite veneers and their porcelain counterparts is their application.
Composite veneers are made using a tooth-coloured resin – the same material as white fillings. The dentist makes up the resin chairside and applies it in layers to the problem tooth. The resin resembles tooth enamel as it hardens, and a quick polish restores the tooth to its former glory.
Porcelain veneers do the same job of hiding chips, cracks, and blemishes, but they’re applied in a very different way.
Where composite resin veneers are made chairside, porcelain veneers are custom made either in a lab or custom-milled using the latest in-office milling technology. Because they are cut from dental porcelain, this makes them last a long time.
So how long do porcelain veneers last?
Clinical trials suggest that porcelain veneers last for at least ten years, but it is common for them to survive intact for 15-20 years.
Unfortunately, because of the material, composite veneers won’t last that long. Resin is far less durable than dental porcelain and, therefore, doesn’t have the longevity of porcelain veneers, no matter how well you look after them. That’s the truth of the issue.
So now we’ve answered the question, how long do composite veneers last? You’re probably thinking, why you should bother getting them in the first place.
Even though they don’t last as long as porcelain veneers, composites have some significant advantages that could mitigate the fact that they aren’t as long-lasting.
Advantages like cost, for example:
The national dental survey fee for 2020 found that a composite resin veneer costs $836 on average. In contrast, a single porcelain veneer will set you back approximately $2036. As you can see, that’s a cost saving of around 60%.
With this in mind, you may want to weigh up the costs of replacing a ‘not so long lasting’ composite veneer every 4-6 years versus the higher initial cost of getting long-lasting porcelain veneers.
Another justifying factor could be the procedure itself
The resin material of a composite veneer is applied into problem areas on the tooth’s surface, like small cracks and chips, to make good the tooth and add protection. The process is quick, easy, and doesn’t take very long to complete – around 20-40 minutes.
In contrast, the procedure for fitting a porcelain veneer is more complex and time-consuming.
Because the veneer covers the whole front surface of the tooth, it needs to sit flush within your smile. Therefore a small amount of the existing tooth structure needs to be removed to accommodate the veneer. 1-2 millimetres of enamel are removed, and while this is not detrimental to the tooth, it does mean that the process is irreversible.
So what does this mean for long-lasting porcelain veneers?
You need to be sure that this is the cosmetic procedure for you because once tooth enamel is removed, there’s no going back.
Throw in the fact that a dental veneer has to be custom-designed, and you are looking at a couple of dental visits spread over several weeks. And, while you will get a fully restored and durable smile for the long term, this has to be balanced out against the initial cost or outlay and the fact that the process is time-consuming and irreversible.
So we’ve answered the question, how long do composite veneers last? It’s worth taking the time to consider how you can make composites last longer.
Here are some top tips:
Maintain good oral hygiene
Don’t forget that teeth respond well to good oral hygiene. That means brushing at least twice a day and flossing once – particularly in and around the veneer site. Also, look to maintain regular trips to your dentist. In doing so, they can spot any problems early on before they escalate further.
Treat teeth like teeth
Just because composite veneers can cosmetically restore a tooth and add protection, it doesn’t mean that you should use them as ice picks or bottle openers. If you want your veneers to last as long as possible, use your teeth the way they were intended – for biting and chewing food only.
Avoid hard foods
While composite resin is a relatively durable material once allowed to dry, you may want to avoid chowing down on particularly hard candies or caramel apples, for example. If you can’t avoid them altogether, chew on the opposite side of the mouth to your veneer. Doing so will prevent damage and make it last longer.
Avoid teeth grinding
Studies have shown that nocturnal habits like teeth grinding (Bruxism) are prevalent in around 16% of adults.
Yet, when we grind teeth, we’re applying up to 250 lbs of pressure per square inch onto unsuspecting composite veneers. Actions like this are a sure-fire way to damage veneers quickly.
Visit the dentist regularly
Regular visits to the dentist can help keep your oral health in good condition and lengthen the life of your composite veneers. The dentist will check if the veneered tooth remains in good condition and quickly spot any initial concerns during a routine dental examination.
Follow these points if you want to make your composite veneers last as long as possible.
If you are considering cosmetic dental veneers as an option to improve your smile, then come and talk to the team at Beyond Infinity Dental Castle Hill. We’re experts in creating and restoring beautiful smiles and can discuss important questions like how long do composite veneers last. We’ll also talk you through the best option for you.
Call us on (02) 8806 3799 or book a smile consultation online today.