Composite Veneers vs. Porcelain Veneers
The most commonly used materials for dental veneers are composite resin and porcelain. Both types of dental veneers can be used to effectively transform your smile if you have stained, discolored, cracked, chipped, or misshapen teeth, so how do you decide between composite veneers and porcelain veneers? Each person’s needs are different, and different considerations will matter to different people for different reasons. Some of the more common deciding factors are cost, durability, aesthetic outcome, and treatment time, though other determinants do exist. The best way to decide which type of dental veneer is best for you is to weigh the factors that matter to you.
For patients for whom cost is a significant deciding factor, composite veneers may be preferable. Porcelain veneers cost, on average, about twice as much as composite veneers. This is particularly important in light of the fact that veneers are considered a cosmetic dentistry procedure and are therefore rarely covered by dental insurance policies. The cost of a composite veneer averages anywhere from $250 to $1,500 per tooth, which can add up to a kingly sum when the goal is a whole new smile. Composite veneers can also usually be placed in a same-day procedure. Some composite veneers, called direct composite veneers, can be sculpted directly onto the surfaces of the teeth, as opposed to being manufactured off-site in a dental laboratory. This direct composite material is hardened with blue light and repeatedly sculpted and cured until the desired shape and luminosity are achieved. In any case, the treatment time for composite veneers is shorter than that of porcelain veneers.
To place porcelain veneers, the dentist must alter the surfaces of the teeth, removing areas of decay and enamel that require a veneer to cover the area and protect the tooth. Because enamel does not regrow, the procedure for porcelain veneers is irreversible. Composite veneers require minimal preparation of the natural teeth, which means that the teeth remain intact and are not permanently modified, should the patient wish to remove or replace the veneers. While this temporary nature may appeal to some patients, it is considered the primary weakness of composite veneers for other patients. Porcelain is a far more durable material than composite resin, and porcelain veneers that are maintained properly can last as long as 15 years, while composite veneers have an average lifespan of about five to seven years. Even though composite veneers cost half as much, they generally last half as long, which is an important element of any cost-benefit analysis.
Porcelain veneers are generally regarded as the aesthetically preferable option, too, providing a highly lifelike aesthetic. The translucence of porcelain makes it resemble dental enamel, and porcelain veneers can also be tinted to match the surrounding teeth. Because porcelain is so strong and glossy, it is exceedingly resistant to staining and chipping, while composite resin is more porous and therefore more susceptible to discoloration. Porcelain veneers can also be used to correct more significant problems with the teeth, like issues with spacing and severe discoloration, while composite veneers may not be an option in these cases. You and your dentist can confer about which is the best option for you, and you can look forward to a brighter, more perfect smile whichever option you choose.