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Composite vs porcelain veneers – how to choose and what are the differences?

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Dr Teresa Li
April 23, 2024

It’s something we get asked a lot: “What’s the actual difference between composite vs porcelain veneers?” Now, if we were being a bit cheeky we could reply: “Well, both are dental veneers – and the answer is in the question (i.e. different materials).” 

But, there’s much more to it than that, and in this piece we’ll cover all of it – costs, numbers of appointments, longevity, and as part of our open and honest approach to dentistry – the shortcomings of each type, too.

So let’s begin!

What are composite veneers?

Composite veneers are applied directly onto natural teeth and are made from resin. They are a cosmetic dental treatment for teeth that are:

  • Misshapen
  • Discoloured
  • Broken or chipped
  • Gappy

The composite material is applied over the existing tooth in layers (if required), and are created to match and blend in with the same tooth colour as your remaining teeth. 

Another thing to note – composite veneers are created in-chair and can be completed in the one appointment session.

Dentist matches the veneers with the patient’s teeth colour so that they blend seamlessly at TL Dental.
Porcelain and composite veneers can improve smiles by addressing discolouration, gaps, misshapen, or chipped teeth. But there are more differences to them beyond the materials they’re made from.

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And porcelain veneers – what are they exactly?

Porcelain veneers are handcrafted offsite by a professional specialist ceramist and are made from strong porcelain, presenting as a fine shell. Porcelain veneers are thin by their nature and are completely customised to the patient’s existing tooth/teeth. They are created to address the same cosmetic concerns as composite veneers. 

Porcelain veneers are placed on top of the tooth, and often form part of a dentist’s ‘smile makeover’ treatment due to their appearance-enhancing capabilities.

So composite veneers vs porcelain veneers – what are the pros and cons?

Trait Composite veneers, Porcelain veneers
Look Similar to natural teeth Translucent - just like natural teeth
Strength Weaker comparatively Stronger
Application One visit, which sees the dentist make scratches on the surface of your teeth so the resin can attach. It is then ‘dried’ by a UV light Three visits involving scans and 3D imaging, taking moulds, shaving down the teeth for pending fit, then fitting of veneers
Customisation Your dentist will shape the composite resin to the desired cosmetic outcome 3D scans (Digital Smile Design) will measure your teeth for the porcelain veneer that fits your mouth and complements your existing smile. You will have the chance to preview your new smile before going ahead, on a digital screen
Longevity With proper care – 5-7 years With proper care – up to 20 years, and we guarantee at least 7 years
Chip resistant No Within reason
Stain resistant No Yes
Maintenance As you would natural teeth, with minimal consumption of staining foods/drinks As you would natural teeth
Price - Finance is available Case by case From $1500 per tooth

How to choose the right veneer

There are further considerations when deciding between porcelain vs composite veneers and we can talk you through these. If you’re ready to smile genuinely, widely, and brightly - contact us at dentists port macquarie today.

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