Porcelain veneers are a popular option for people who want to correct a range of cosmetic defects and help their smiles look their best. Applied to the tooth surfaces, porcelain veneers cover cracks, chips, discoloration, and worn or oddly-shaped teeth, helping your smile look healthier, more youthful, and more attractive.
But, while porcelain veneers might be well known among a lot of people, they’re not the only choice. In fact, direct composite veneers offer an alternative option you might find more suitable for your needs and your budget.
Also called cosmetic bonding or dental bonding, direct composite veneers correct many of the same concerns as porcelain veneers, but at a fraction of the cost. The primary differences between the two options revolve around the materials they use.
While porcelain veneers use ceramics (or porcelain) to restore your smile, direct composite veneers use a special composite resin that’s tinted to match your natural teeth. The resin is “flowed” onto your teeth, then expertly shaped to match your natural contours, while porcelain veneers are crafted and shaped in a lab, then applied using strong adhesives.
Because of that key difference, direct composite veneers can be applied in just one appointment, while porcelain veneers require two appointments: One to prepare the tooth or teeth and make an impression or mold of them, and a second a couple of weeks later when the permanent restoration is ready to be applied.
The “flowed-on” aspect of direct composite veneers means they also don’t require any tooth preparation. As a result, direct composite veneers are completely reversible and can be easily replaced when needed. Better still, you don’t need to have your tooth numbed before receiving a direct composite veneer.
By comparison, porcelain veneers require some of your natural tooth to be removed in order to accommodate the thickness of the veneer. While a porcelain veneer can also be replaced, that tooth will always need some sort of protection once some of the tooth material is removed during the initial preparation.
Lower cost, faster application, and no tooth removal: At face value, those benefits make direct composite veneers appear like the obvious better choice. But there are some downsides to direct composite veneers, too.
Like porcelain, composite resin can be tinted and shaped for a natural-looking result. However, while composite resin is very strong and durable, it’s not as tough as porcelain. It’s also not as resistant to stains.
That means direct composite veneers can be chipped or damaged more easily. Plus, some people find composite resin doesn’t have the translucency of porcelain, so they may not look as natural as porcelain veneers.
Finally, resin is also more porous, and over time, you may find your restoration looks yellowed or dingy compared with your other teeth. In fact, direct composite veneers typically last about seven years, compared to 10-15 years for a porcelain veneer. The good news is, if you have damage or discoloration, direct composite veneers can be easily removed and replaced in just one visit, so you can maintain your smile over time.
Dr. Tomase and his team are skilled in helping every patient find the ideal solution for their dental concerns. If you’re ready to improve the way your smile looks, call 419-670-6537 or book an appointment online at Tomase Dental Care today.