Porcelain veneers vs composite can be a dilemma for those looking to fix a cosmetic issue or undergo a smile makeover. In essence, there are two main types of dental veneers: porcelain and composite. Deciding which is best for you boils down to many factors. Stay on the page to learn more about the differences, and then book a veneer consultation with our experienced dentists in Castle Hill.
What are porcelain and composite veneers?
Both porcelain and composite veneers can give you a winning smile, but their main difference lies in their material and application.
Porcelain veneers are thin laminates of porcelain fabricated in a lab and bonded to the outer surface of the teeth. Composite veneers are constructed from tooth-coloured plastic resin and shaped by hand directly onto the teeth. Both are coloured to whiten or match your teeth and improve the overall appearance of your smile.
So that’s the rudiments of porcelain veneers vs composite, but hopefully, the direct comparison below will give you a better understanding to help you determine what’s best for you.
If you’re looking for speedy results, composite veneers come out on top because they can be applied chairside in one dental appointment. Our dentist matches the resin to the shade of your surrounding teeth to give as natural a finish as possible.
The composite is layered onto the teeth, moulded and shaped to create a new tooth surface, hardened with a high-intensity light and polished. You can walk out the same day with a beautiful new smile.
In contrast, porcelain veneers typically take two dental visits. During the first visit, the dentist will remove a thin layer of tooth enamel to accommodate the veneers, take digital impressions of the prepared teeth and send the moulds to the dental lab making the veneers. Each veneer is customised to match a patient’s specific needs and style. In most cases, the dentist will apply temporary veneers to protect the teeth while you wait for the permanent veneers to come back from the lab.
When you return for your second visit, the dentist will remove the temporaries and etch the teeth with acid to help the bonding adhere. The porcelain veneers are then tried on for colour, shape, and size. The dentist makes any minor alterations before bonding them to the teeth.
Providing they are well cared for, porcelain veneers can last 10-15 years, whereas composite veneers need replacing between 4 to 7 years. While porcelain is considered a delicate material, it becomes incredibly strong once bonded to a healthy tooth. Although composite is durable, it’s not as strong as porcelain and is more prone to chipping.
A benefit of composite veneers vs porcelain, however, is should they become damaged, a dentist can quickly repair them, whereas a damaged porcelain veneer will need replacement. This can work out costly, as the procedure will have to be repeated.
One thing to note at this point is that porcelain veneers are irreversible. This is because once the tooth structure has been modified, there is no going back. In other words, once you get porcelain veneers, you will have to wear them for life, replacing them when necessary. Composite veneers, on the other hand, are reversible in most cases.
When it comes to the appearance of porcelain veneers vs composite, porcelain wins hands down. While results look good with composite, there is nothing to rival porcelain.
The translucent properties of porcelain reflect the light similarly to tooth enamel, giving them a natural sparkle. Another benefit of porcelain is that it is highly stain-resistant. This benefit has to be our favourite. After all, who doesn’t love a good cup of coffee or a glass of red wine with friends without the stress of staining their teeth?
If you wear porcelain veneers on your upper and lower teeth, it could mean you no longer have to whiten your natural teeth.
Unfortunately, composite veneers will discolour like natural teeth.
Initially, porcelain veneers are more expensive than composite. Placing porcelain takes time, resources and expertise. A dentist has to choose the dental lab they work with carefully, and it costs money to fabricate restorations. That said, if you break down the costs by how often you might have to repair or replace composite veneers, the price could even out over time.
So how much do veneers cost? According to the 2020 National Dental Survey, you can expect to pay up to AU$2,036 per tooth for a porcelain veneer compared to up to $836 per tooth.
By now, you should better understand both types of veneer and the benefits each one offers. Let’s take a quick look at the key differences between porcelain veneers vs composite
- Time – composite veneers are considerably faster and require just one dental visit instead of two trips a couple of weeks apart for porcelain.
- Durability – Porcelain veneers can last 10-15 years with care compared to 4-7 years for composite.
- Aesthetics – Porcelain looks more natural than composite because it has similar translucency properties to tooth enamel.
- Cost – Porcelain costs more initially, but over time, the costs of repairing and replacing composite veneers soon add up.
Ready for a brand-new smile?
If you’re considering veneers, there’s no time like the present. At Beyond Infinity Dental, we can comprehensively examine your teeth and gums to determine whether porcelain or composite veneers are a suitable treatment for you. Why not schedule a consultation by calling us on (02) 8806 3799 and take the first step to a beautiful new smile?
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry – Veneers
Smile.com.au – How Much Do Veneers Cost?