This quick guide will walk you through all you need to know about composite veneers.
Let’s get started.
- 1 What Are Composite Veneers?
- 2 What Materials are Composite Veneers Made of?
- 3 How do Composite Veneers Differ from Porcelain Veneers?
- 4 Procedure for Bonding Composite Veneers
- 5 Are Composite Veneers Durable?
- 6 Are Composite Veneers Worth It?
What Are Composite Veneers?
In dentistry, placing a thin layer of material onto a tooth is known as dental laminates or veneers. Wikipedia describes a veneer as
Composite veneers, also known as “composite bondings”, “componeers”, “same-day veneers” or “resin veneers”, is a less invasive cosmetic dental procedure that involves placing a layer of resin material directly onto a tooth. It is generally used to improve the shape, colour, size, and texture of the teeth to make them more attractive.
If you have chipped, worn, or damaged teeth, a composite veneer can be applied directly on the teeth as a fix and produce, beautiful, life-like results. The procedure is different from dental bridges, dental crowns, and dental fillings, all of which are more functional than aesthetic treatments. They are also different from porcelain veneers, in that they require little or no teeth reduction (drilling), and the procedure can be completed in a single visit.
The composite resin veneers can be installed on as many teeth as you choose. If you want a full smile makeover, the total cost can be as much as a fifth of the cost of regular porcelain veneers.
What Materials are Composite Veneers Made of?
Dental composite resin is a specially designed material developed for use in dentistry. It’s primarily a paste, which is applied onto a tooth and then sculpted like putty. When the desired shape of tooth is achieved, it’s hardened using special light in a process referred to as light curing, and then polished. The new veneer surface ideally hides the old one that might be worn out, discoloured, damaged, or just non-aesthetic.
These composite materials are quite advanced, and are continually being improved for more translucent, life-like results. Composites are safe and effective, which explains why they are used in millions of dental cases worldwide to improve the aesthetics of a patient’s smile.
How do Composite Veneers Differ from Porcelain Veneers?
The key difference is that composite veneers are typically built onto the tooth’s surface, while porcelain veneers are first moulded to fit the prepared teeth, and then sent to a lab to actually make them. The porcelain veneers are then glued (cemented) onto the tooth in subsequent appointments.
Here are other key differences:
Dental preparation and procedure
Porcelain veneers typically require preparation before they are fitted. This entails drilling down the original teeth into a special shape for the final veneer to fit. However, touching any teeth with a drill increases the chance that the tooth will get damaged or worse, die off. It also increases the risk that you will need a root canal in the future, and in some cases, the patient might need implants to restore the tooth as time takes a toll on the drilled tooth.
Single Appointment Procedure
Another key difference is that composite veneers can be made and installed in just one visit to the dentist. The procedure typically takes anything from under an hour to a few hours to complete, and the results will be instant.
In comparison, porcelain veneers require multiple steps and a few appointments to install. Your teeth will have to be prepped first and get temporary veneers installed while you wait for the final veneer fitting. The dentist will also have to work with a master ceramist to create porcelain veneers in a lab. Of course, this takes time and will translate into higher costs.
Procedure for Bonding Composite Veneers
The first thing your dentist will do is examine your teeth and mouth to determine if you’re a suitable candidate for composite veneers. It’s important that you don’t have any form of inflammation or active gum disease before any cosmetic procedure is performed.
During the initial consultation, the dentist will also determine the current colour of your teeth and have you decide the desired colour of your final teeth. If you want to have whiter teeth, then a teeth whitening procedure might be performed before the veneers are placed, so that the veneers can be colour-matched to the surrounding natural teeth. Keep in mind that you might need to top up your teeth whitening periodically to maintain a white smile.
Next, your teeth are cleaned thoroughly to remove any surface build-up of plaque, to provide a clean surface to place the veneers. Your teeth will then be dried well and isolated with a rubber dam to remove any saliva or moisture present, as this might interfere with the bonding process. The front part of your teeth will then be etched with acid to roughen the surface chemically. This helps the composite material to adhere onto the teeth’s surface more effectively.
The binding agent is then applied to the surface of the etched teeth, and the composite material is slowly added in layers to build up the tooth. The processes is repeated to add, remove, and mould the composite material. This is followed by polishing, which ideally creates the final veneer. Of course, the final result is highly dependent on the skills of your cosmetic dentist.
Are Composite Veneers Durable?
This will largely depend on how you look after your teeth and veneers. For instance, if you suffer from bruxism (teeth grinding), the composites will crack and chip as normal teeth would. Your dentist can make you a custom night guard to help keep the veneers in a great condition for long. However, since biting food and chewing hard food is part of most diets, normal wear and tear is unavoidable. And depending on your diet and chewing habits, composite veneers can last anywhere between 2 and 8 years.
Are Composite Veneers Worth It?
Composite veneers are generally a much better value solution compared to porcelain veneers, although this can depend on the patient and the treatment.
To find out if composite veneers are right for you, visit our dental clinics in Liverpool or Southport or book a free consultation. Contact us here.