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What Is the Difference Between Composite & Porcelain Veneers?

There’s a misconception that dentistry is solely about caring for the wellbeing of your teeth, disconnected from the rest of your body. But in truth, the health of your teeth has wider implications for your overall sense of health and wellbeing. Having beautiful teeth also gives you a beautiful smile, which has the power of transforming your self-image — and in turn you as a person, and your life. 

Problems with your teeth can result in health issues in other areas of the body (pain and infection being two of the most common), while the psychological impact and effects on emotional wellbeing are also often understated. Crooked, discoloured, damaged or missing teeth can all impact on our ability not only to carry out basic functions like speaking clearly or eating but also profoundly impact our self-image. The impact extends beyond the purely personal, too. Teeth-related issues can hinder the perceptions others have of us — something of critical importance in situations like job interviews or when making public appearances. 

Hence, the importance of cosmetic dentistry runs far deeper than simple vanity. Having good teeth is important for a variety of reasons, both personal and external. It’s no coincidence that procedures such as composite or porcelain veneers have taken on an increasing popularity in recent years, as people seek to not only look their best but to also better look after their health. 

What are veneers?

Veneers are mouldings placed over your teeth, designed to improve the size, shape and colour of your natural teeth. They’ve emerged as a popular cosmetic dentistry option as they can solve multiple problems in one fell swoop — gaps in teeth, discolourations, cavities, chipped teeth, misalignments and restoring natural tooth function, among others. 

Veneers allow the natural tooth to be preserved, while also augmenting its size and shape accordingly to your individual needs. They can also be used to improve the colour of a tooth when whitening has previously been ineffective. Porcelain veneers have become an increasingly popular option for dental patients across the spectrum — from people who require whole-mouth replacements, through to others who have largely healthy teeth but are looking for cosmetic touch-ups. Ultimately, veneers allow us to upgrade good teeth into perfect smiles. 

Composite veneers vs porcelain veneers

There are two primary types of veneer currently available to patients — composite veneers and porcelain veneers. While both operate on similar principles, porcelain veneers are increasingly emerging as a popular option, in part due to their more natural appearance and longer-term durability. So what’s the difference between porcelain and composite veneers? 

Essentially, composite veneers are resin-based covers that are attached to an individual tooth or multiple teeth to provide a more even look for the patient’s mouth. The basic structure of the tooth remains unchanged, and the veneer can be removed at a later date if the patient so desires. Typically, composite veneers last from 4 to 8 years. They can be an economical solution if you’re concerned about cost; they’re also easier to repair if any issues such as chipping occur. Additionally, composite veneers can be useful as a transitional restoration between current aesthetics and future aesthetics. It’s especially useful for younger patients, particularly while they decide on a more permanent replacement later in life.    

Porcelain veneers are a more permanent solution. Veneers can be purely additive, with minimal or no tooth preparation required in order to give you a flawless smile. This can be a particularly useful solution in situations where the veneer is replacing a tooth that has already sustained considerable wear, either due to injury or grinding. 

Impressions of your mouth are then taken by the dentist, which is sent to a specialist to prepare your veneers. Your veneers are then handcrafted in a laboratory by a skilled ceramic master technician, using layers and a full palette of dyes to match any surrounding teeth. Once they have arrived, your dentist will bond them to your teeth in order to ensure that they mimic the natural structure of your teeth as effectively as possible. 

Ultimately, veneers are more than just an effective means of restoring or creating the picture-perfect smile that you want. They’re also about restoring confidence, enabling better mouth function and enabling you to feel better as part of your overall wellbeing. In terms of comparison, composite and porcelain veneers are somewhat comparable to vinyl and ceramic finish; both offer a distinctive finish, colour depth and wear resistance, bringing their own benefits into the mix. Your dental professional will be able to advise on which particular style is best for your specific needs. 

Composite or porcelain veneers from iSmile

For individual patients, it’s worth weighing up what is the difference between composite veneers and porcelain veneers — both serve a valuable function for restoring a healthy smile and confidence, but the best option will vary depending on your specific circumstances. 

Here at iSmile Studio, we want to help you find the smile that’s right for you. Teeth aren’t something to be viewed in isolation, but seen as part of your whole face. For every patient, we start with a face and smile analysis, so that we can be sure that your final smile will enhance the whole look of your face. We can fit you for veneers, or carry out a variety of other orthodontic and cosmetic dentistry procedures according to your individual dental needs. Contact us today to discover more about how our face-driven smile design and execution can help you get the smile you want.