Smile makeover

Composite vs porcelain veneers: samey but different. Here’s why…

Dr Jaskaran Kaur
April 3, 2024
Dentistry at The Cross Potts Point Smile Makeover

Fancy taking your smile from “so-so” to “stunning”? Then you’ve probably considered dental veneers. No doubt you’ve wondered, ‘What’s the real difference between composite vs porcelain veneers?’ You’re not alone. I hear this question…A LOT. 

The truth is, both types of dental veneers can change the shape, size, and colour of your teeth. They can give you a natural-looking smile you love. But when it comes to cost, treatment duration and material durability, this is where there are differences. 

Keen to get the gorgeous smile you’ve always wanted? Here’s a deeper look at the pros and cons of both types of veneers, so you can find the perfect fix for you.

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Table of Contents

First up, what dental issues can veneers fix?

Both types of veneers, composite and porcelain, can solve a range of cosmetic dental issues, including:

  • Staining or discolouration
  • Chipped, cracked, or broken teeth
  • Worn-down teeth
  • Misshapen or irregularly shaped teeth
  • Gaps

What are composite veneers?

As the name suggests, composite veneers are made from composite resin. (This is a strong plastic material.) The resin is bonded onto the front of the tooth. You might also hear this treatment referred to as composite bonding. The composite material is applied to the surface of the tooth to make the shape, size or colour more appealing.

Composite veneers treatment process

Here’s a step-by-step guide to the composite veneers procedure. 

Step 1: Initial consultation

We’ll chat through your options and assess your dental health. This is to make sure that composite veneers are best for you. You’ll receive a treatment plan. Remember, there’s no pressure; you can accept or reject this plan. If dental treatments make you feel a bit squiffy, we can discuss sedation options too!

Step 2: Prep

There’s little or no preparation needed for composite veneers. Yet, in some cases, a tiny amount of your natural teeth might need to be removed. In the case of indirect veneers, impressions are needed to tailor-make your veneers.

Step 3: Placing the veneers

Composite resin is placed directly onto your teeth. This is sculpted into the right shape and size. Blue light is used to cure (harden) the resin. Your veneers are polished and, just like magic, your smile is transformed. 

Young lady, sitting on the dentist chair, discusses the composite veneers treatment with her regular dentist.
Composite veneers are made from composite resin that is bonded onto the front of the tooth. The composite material is applied to the surface of the tooth to make the shape, size or colour more appealing.

What are porcelain veneers?

Porcelain veneers are a fantastic way to add the sparkle back into your smile. The shells are custom-made from wafer-thin ceramic porcelain. These are placed onto the front surface of the teeth. The preparation process involves removing a small amount of tooth enamel, which is irreversible. The good news is that porcelain mimics the natural translucency of teeth. For this reason, porcelain veneers look more like natural teeth. They’re also very durable.

Porcelain veneers treatment process

Think porcelain veneers might be the go for enhancing your smile? Here’s a step-by-step guide to what you can expect from the process.

Step 1: Consultation

Just like with composite veneers, the first step is your consultation. This includes a dental health check to make sure your teeth are healthy before applying veneers.

Step 2: Prep

Teeth preparation ensures the correct placement of the veneers. Part of the tooth enamel will be removed. This is so that the veneers sit flush on the teeth and don’t look bulky. Impressions will be taken to craft veneers that fit the shape and size of your mouth.

Step 3: Evaluation

Once your custom-made veneers are back from the lab, you’ll return. Before they are bonded onto your teeth, we’ll check the fit, shape, and colour to make sure it’s perfect. 

The pre-bonding process for porcelain veneers takes a minimum of two visits. This is to ensure you get beautiful, natural-looking results. 

Step 4: The bonding process

A thin layer of dental cement is used to secure the veneers in place. Blue light is used to harden the cement and speed up the bonding process.

Porcelain vs composite veneers: Let’s talk pros and cons

Now that we’ve covered what composite veneers and porcelain veneers are, let’s get into the pros and cons.

Young lady smiling and exhibiting beautiful straight and bright teeth.
Porcelain veneers can last up to 15 years with proper care, look like natural teeth and are highly resistant to stains.

PROS: porcelain veneers

  • Strong and durable. Can last up to 15 years with proper care.
  • Can fix several aesthetic dental issues.
  • Look like natural teeth.
  • Highly resistant to stains. 

CONS: porcelain veneers

  • Requires two or more visits to the dentist and can take 1-2 weeks for the veneers to be ready to be applied.
  • Higher cost compared to other treatments.
  • Treatment is irreversible.
  • Can’t be repaired.

PROS: composite veneers

  • Quicker and less expensive than porcelain veneers.
  • Require minimal to no tooth preparation.
  • Can fix many aesthetic dental issues.
  • Can be replaced if they break.

CONS: composite veneers

  • Have a shorter lifespan than porcelain veneers. (Typically, 5-7 years.)
  • Less resistant to staining.
  • May need to be replaced or repaired more often than porcelain.

The verdict

Both composite veneers and porcelain veneers can be a great choice for fixing imperfect teeth. Considering durability, appearance and cost may help you to decide which is best for you. We know that transforming your smile is a big deal. Need more guidance? Why not book in for a consultation? We’ll talk you through your options and answer any questions you might have.  

Book online or give us a call. We’ll help you get your smile sorted!

Want a smile that’ll turn heads for all the right reasons? Book a smile makeover consultation now.
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Dr Jaskaran Kaur of Dentistry at The Cross Potts Point
Dr Jaskaran Kaur
Dr Jaskaran Kaur proudly owns Dentistry At The Cross and opened the clinic to provide judgement-free, inclusive and all-encompassing dentistry. She enjoys performing complex dental treatments, and finds great fulfilment in helping her patients in whatever way possible.

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