For those who suffer from chipped or broken teeth, veneers are an ideal solution for improving smiles and restoring confidence. Veneers are synthetic, tooth-colored shells that are affixed to the front of teeth to improve their appearance and protect them from further damage.
In general, there are two types of veneers to choose from: porcelain, and composite resin. Each of these veneers comes with unique advantages and drawbacks. If you’re considering veneers, it’s important to understand what each type has to offer, and how it will affect your smile.
How Veneers Work
To understand the different types of veneers, it helps to first understand exactly how veneers work. The placement procedure may differ, depending on the type of veneer you choose.
For traditional porcelain veneers, the first thing your dentist will do is create a mold of your teeth so that the veneers will match their exact shape and size. This mold is then sent off to a lab where the veneers are created, then shipped back to the dentist’s office. This process typically takes between one and two weeks. Once the veneers are ready, your doctor will contact you to schedule an appointment to get them placed.
For composite resin veneers, a 3D picture is taken of your teeth. This picture is then uploaded into a computer and is used as a template for a machine to print the veneers in real-time, at which point the veneers are ready to be placed.
The doctor will begin the placement procedure by thoroughly cleaning your teeth, making sure that no bacteria or particulates will be trapped between the veneer and the tooth.
Next, the doctor will use a grinding tool to create a rough texture on the teeth receiving the veneers. This process makes it easier for the veneers to adhere to the teeth.
To bond the veneer to the tooth, the doctor uses something called dental cement, a 100% safe dental adhesive that hardens to create a durable and permanent bond.
The entire process shouldn’t take more than two hours.
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What are the Different Types of Veneers?
In general, there are two different types of veneers: porcelain, and composite resin. Let’s take a look at what makes these veneers different, as well as some of the advantages and possible drawbacks of each.
Porcelain is by far the most common type of veneer– and with good reason! It is extremely durable, customizable, and lasts between 10 to 15 years.
Porcelain veneers are made of ceramic material which is naturally tooth-colored and more stain-resistant than other types of veneer.
One drawback to porcelain veneers is that they can’t be repaired. Once chipped, the entire porcelain veneer would need to be replaced.
Another drawback is the time it takes to manufacture porcelain veneers. Historically, doctors have had to make a tooth mold, send that mold to a separate lab responsible for creating the veneers, then wait until the veneers are shipped back to the office before calling the patient to schedule the placement procedure. This process can take several weeks and end up adding to the overall cost of the veneers.
Fortunately, thanks to CAD/CAM technology, there are now dentists who can create porcelain veneers in their offices, saving you both time and money. However, this isn’t yet commonplace among most dental offices.
- Natural appearance
- Can’t be repaired
Composite Resin Veneers
Composite resin veneers are an increasingly popular alternative to traditional porcelain veneers. Composite resin veneers are convenient, highly customizable, and easier to repair than porcelain veneers.
Composite resin veneers are made from the same material used for tooth-colored cavity fillings, and, unlike porcelain veneers, can be molded directly onto the tooth.
Because the material is cheaper and easier to work, composite resin veneers can be created quickly, with little expense. Often, doctors can create composite resin veneers and place them during the same appointment, saving you time and money!
Composite resin veneers are also much easier to repair than porcelain. If a porcelain veneer chips, the entire veneer will need to be replaced, whereas a chip in a composite resin veneer will only require a quick touchup.
However, composite resin veneers don’t come without their downsides. Composite resin is less durable than porcelain, typically lasting only about 5 to 7 years (while porcelain lasts 10 to 15 years). Also, due to the quality of the material, composite resin often doesn’t match the natural color of a person’s teeth as well as porcelain.
- Easy to repair
- Quick and efficient
- Low durability
- Short lifespan
- Not as natural in appearance