When you want to improve your smile, you have many options available to you. One option is veneers, but did you know they come in different materials? We will break down the differences between porcelain and composite veneers to help you make your decision for which veneer is right for you. When you need aesthetic dentistry, call Dr. Mel A. Burchman! We have the years of experience to help you get the smile you’ve always wanted.

-Benefits of Composite Veneers

The number one benefit composite veneers hold over porcelain is cost. Porcelain veneers cost, on average, twice as much as composite veneers. This is incredibly important, as most aesthetic treatments are not covered by insurance, which means that payment will be coming out-of-pocket. While there are a variety of factors that can change the cost of veneers, composites can cost between $250 to $1,500 per tooth. Depending on how many teeth need veneers, that can really add up.
Another big benefit composites have over porcelain is that they can usually be created as you’re waiting, which makes it a same-day treatment. Nobody likes to make a bunch of trips to the dentist, so the time you save from this means you can get in, get out, and go home with your new smile. A direct composite veneer (aka composite bonding) is sculpted on your tooth instead of at an offsite lab. To do this, tooth-shaded composite resin is applied directly to the tooth, where the dentist will shape and sculpt it to match your other teeth. Once the sculpting process is completed, the resin is hardened with a high-intensity UV light, and more layers of resin can be added and shaped to further improve the aesthetics as needed. After this process has been concluded, the resin is polished so it looks more like a natural tooth. This makes composite veneers faster and less invasive than porcelain.
Possibly even more important is the ability to easily repair composite veneers. Porcelain veneers require your teeth to be reshaped so it can fit the veneer. Composites, on the other hand, do not require much preparation for your natural teeth, which means they have not been permanently altered. That means composites can easily be removed and replaced if they are damaged in some way.

-Benefits of Porcelain Veneers

As you can see, there are many benefits to choosing composite veneers, but there is one way they can’t compete with porcelain: durability. Even with consistent improvements to composite resins, porcelain is a much stronger material. When properly maintained, porcelain veneers can last 10-to-15 years, whereas composites have a life expectancy of about five to seven years. Therein lies the trade-off. While composite veneers initially cost half as much as porcelain, they also last half as long. Paying more initially means you won’t have to replace them as soon. Which is the better value is your choice.
Many dentists feel that porcelain veneers are the most natural looking option, as they are able to mimic the aesthetics of a natural tooth easier than composites. It comes down to porcelain’s translucent quality, which looks very similar to tooth enamel. Porcelain is also incredibly resistant to staining and chipping, thanks to the strength of the material itself, along with the glaze that is applied to it following treatment. This is in direct contrast to the porous nature of composites, which are more susceptible to staining and need to be polished to get close to a natural tooth-like aesthetic. Even when polished, composites don’t look as natural as porcelain.
However, those benefits require a much more involved procedure. Because the veneers are sculpted offsite in a lab, you’ll have to wear temporaries while you wait. Additionally, your natural teeth will need to be reshaped, which can put some people off. To speed up this process, many dentists are bringing in chairside CAD/CAM technologies to allow for onsite veneer fabrication. If you are considering porcelain veneers, consult with your dentist to see what technologies they have access to, as this could drastically reduce the length of treatment.
Porcelain veneers are often the most viable option for everything from worn enamel and general wear and tear to genetic defects and uneven teeth. Composites are often not viable for severe issues like significant discoloration or spacing issues, which make porcelain your only option. Your dentist will be able to advise you of your best options after a thorough oral health evaluation.

-Final Verdict

While both porcelain and composite veneers carry their own benefits, the only way to know which is right for you is through consulting your dentist. They will be able to take into account your oral health and aesthetic goals to understand your best course of action. However, you will need to consider what is most important to you when both options are available. Are you more concerned with being cost-effective? If so, then composites may be your best choice. On the other hand, do you place a higher priority on the aesthetic quality, and matching the appearance of a natural tooth? If so, then porcelain would be right for you. It’s important to weigh all of your options and the benefits associated with them, along with their drawbacks.

No matter if you choose porcelain or composite veneers, it’s important to have a dentist you trust performing the treatment. For aesthetic dentistry you’ll be smiling ear to ear over, call Dr. Burchman today! Our experienced and knowledgeable team will be happy to give you the smile you’ve dreamed of. We hope to see you soon!