Composite Vs. Porcelain Veneers, What's the Difference?

Doctor Answers 27

Composite veneers and porcelain veneers are both beautiful

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Both treatments involve full or partial facings of teeth that, when properly done, can enhance the beauty of your smile. Veneer therapy is used in cases in which more is needed to be done to accomplish natural esthetics. Veneers can be used in more severe misalignment, form, color and spacing issues.

Composite veneers

Today’s composite materials can provide a life-like, beautiful appearance that is conservative of tooth structure and can last for a long time.

With composite veneers the resin is applied in layers to the tooth and sculpted directly in the mouth to achieve the desired esthetic the patient is looking for. Composite veneers are used in situations in which there is chipping or discoloration of natural teeth. They are also used where there are minor misalignments of teeth to give teeth the appearance of more aligned teeth.

The greatest advantage of composite veneers is that it is an additive process that is reversible and can be removed and replaced as needed. Beautiful natural esthetics can be achieved in the right hands. Composite veneer therapy is an art.... ask to see some of your doctors work and make sure you feel comfortable with the doctor. Esthetic dentistry is not for all dentists and involves extreme attention to detail. When accomplished properly no one should know you had the treatment.

Porcelain veneers

Porcelain veneer therapy involves removal of a thin approximately finger nail thickness layer of the tooth’s enamel followed by the bonding of a thin sculpted porcelain veneer. This procedure is used when there are more severe discoloration, malformation or misalignment of teeth.

Advantages of porcelain veneers are their extreme resistance to stain and chipping as compared to composite veneers.

Choosing between composite and porcelain veneers

In general both procedures can produce beautiful natural esthetic results. Your doctor can help you decide which procedure or combination of procedures is right for you.... make sure you stay involved in the process and articulate what you are looking to achieve....

Lastly.... Smile... Smile....Smile

Manhattan Dentist

Both Composite and Porcelain Veneers can enhance smiles

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Composite resin veneers can be applied in one day, last 4 - 8 years, and require maintenance (they chip). The cost is less - about half of a Porcelain Restoration. Porcelain Veneers are more durable, last 12-25 years and rarely require maintenance. Both can be used for a variety of esthetic situations and results can be amazing. Both approaches should begin with a thorough Cosmetic Analysis to access the patients desires and needs.

Mickey Bernstein, DDS
Memphis Dentist

Five different kinds of veneers

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The are five different kinds of veneers.  There are two materials, porcelain and composite and there are three different preparation techniques.  No prep is the most desirable because no shots are needed and no tooth structure is removed.  The problem with this technique is that it is difficult to improve severely crooked or dark teeth.  The other two techniques ate minimal prep and traditional prep techniques.The darker the teeth and more crooked, the more preparation is necessary.  This video explains more.

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Composite is essentially a reinforced plastic. With...

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Composite is essentially a reinforced plastic. With today’s technology it is much stronger and more aesthetic than ever before.

However, it can wear under pressure, and it is not as stain resistant or color stable as porcelain.

Porcelain veneers yield a truer color, a much longer lasting finish, do not fracture as readily, and are better aesthetically.

Strength and longevity is the biggest difference between composite and porcelain veneers

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Composite veneers come it two ways, direct or indirect. Indirect is when impressions are taken and a lab fabricates the materials which are then bonded in place at another appointment. Porcelain veneers are done indirectly as well.

Direct composite veneers are done in one visit and are sculpted at the time of placement. The final result depends entirely on the skill and artistry of the dentist, but does not last as long as indirect veneers, both composite or porcelain.

Depending on the initial condition of the teeth, some shaping and contouring may be needed with directs, and almost certainly needed with indirects. Since they ALL are bonded in place, they should not be considered reversible, as all of them would need to be cut off when replaced, leaving a tooth surface requiring some other procedure (they can't simply be removed and left alone as if nothing was done).

Generally speaking, porcelain veneers look better, feel better, and last longer than the other choices.

Composite is like tupperware, porcelain is like a fine china plate

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Patients ask me all the time what the difference is between composite and porcelain veneers.  I explain that composite is a plastic and therefore, porous, weaker, more likely to stain and chip and it has limitations on how big of a filling it can handle.  Porcelain is color stable because there is a glaze placed on the outside, it is stronger so less chipping, and can fill in much larger spaces than composite (think if you have big spaces between the teeth, very short teeth you'd like to lenghten, or have broken the edge of a tooth off, for just a few examples).  Porcelain therefore lasts much longer, which is one of the reasons why they can cost significantly more than composite.

I explain that composite is like Tupperware and porcelain is like a fine china plate. If you put spaghetti sauce in Tupperware and leave it, eventually it stains, right?  But if you place that same spaghetti sauce on a china plate, you can leave it there for months and it won't stain the plate.  The glaze keeps the color of the plate intact.  That's just one of the benefits of porcelain over composite. 

Gerilyn Alfe, DMD
Chicago Dentist

Composite veneers are a resin material that is bonded...

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Composite veneers are a resin material that is bonded and molded to the front facing of the teeth. They are not life-like because they don't have the same optical properties as porcelain, which is the closest to mimicking natural tooth structure.

Porcelain veneers are more resistant to stain, stronger, and more natural looking. They also last longer.

Jennifer Jablow, DDS
New York Dentist

Veneers - What Type is Best?

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Dental veneers, small, intimately bonded, slivers covering the outer surface of the teeth come in porcelain and composite.  They are used in different situations depending on the smile needs and personal factors. Composite veneers can be done in one day and generally correct small cosmetic defects and run $900 +/- while porcelain veneers can correct complicated teeth issues and run $1000 to $1800 needing at least two appointments, sometimes three.  A consultation with a board accredited cosmetic dentist while viewing pictures of your smile on a large monitor will really help you understand your choices.

Beautiful Smile

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If you're looking for a permanent solution on chipped or discolored front  teeth veneers is the best option of course. veneers are not porous like bonding material and last a life time, bonding material tends to chip off and discolor. veneers are made of  a thin porcelain material that is cemented on your teeth giving your teeth a natural look not bulky, bonding material has to be put on in layers, Usually experienced cosmetic dentist do not bond front teeth because of the possibility of loosing or chipping the material is high.    

Lawrence Gilbert, DDS
Woodbury Dentist

Composite vs. Porcelain

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Here are some characteristics of both-


- Engineered resin or plastic

-Tends to stain more easily because of it's porosity (and it absorbs water)

- Needs to be polished exceedingly well to look natural

- Can be placed more conservatively than veneers (less tooth reduction is most cases)


Porcelain veneers:

-Most beautiful restoration available in cosmetic dentistry.  Mimics nature the best

- Does not stain because it lacks porosity (after porcelain is glazed)

- Typically more expensive and complex procedure than doing "bonding"

- Lifespan is typically longer than bonding

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.