What Are Composite Veneers?

What Are Composite Veneers?

Many consumers are more familiar with porcelain veneers than composite veneers for good reason. Composite veneers are a relatively new technology. Porcelain veneers have become a popular and common way for patients of all ages to improve their smiles. Composite veneers are a newer technology and, as such, a lot of people have far less familiarity with the technology. 

Composite veneers, similarly to porcelain veneers, are molded to fit over the existing tooth to cover superficial imperfections. They are made from a hardened plastic material and are increasingly popular due to the convenience and cost. Composite veneers are typically more affordable and therefore cost-effective compared to  porcelain. They also mimic the look and appearance of natural teeth, just like porcelain. Those reasons, among others, are why many patients are looking to composite veneers as an alternative to porcelain. 

What Are Composite Veneers?

A simple way to think of veneers is like fake fingernails for teeth. Unlike dental implants, veneers address purely cosmetic impurities and appearances. Dentists typically recommend veneers when patients can avoid less invasive treatments (like root canals) to improve a patient’s smile. 

Both composite material and porcelain veneers can mask and improve numerous physical imperfections including:

  • Discoloration from a root canal
  • Staining from drugs like tetracycline (an antibiotic used to treat a wide variety of infections)
  • Worn down areas in the teeth 
  • Chips and minor breaks 
  • Gaps, craters, bulges (to fill those spaces between teeth)

Composites can also cover the same tooth imperfections that porcelain veneers are used to hide. Composite veneers are fabricated from a tooth-colored resin, which is then shaped and sculpted directly onto the teeth by the dentist, significantly reducing the time—and, therefore, the cost—needed to complete the procedure. 

Indirect and Direct Veneers: What is the Difference?

Indirect and direct veneers are made from the same materials, but how they’re applied is a bit different. Indirect veneers are made outside of the dentist’s office and crafted in a dental lab. Direct veneers are made “directly” in the provider’s office and applied in the same manner of direct veneers.

Benefits of Composite Veneers: Why Do People Choose Them Over Porcelain? 

Like porcelain veneers, the plastics used to make composite veneers mimic the appearance of natural teeth. There is little to no difference in the appearance of porcelain or composite veneers.

The application process for composite veneers is simply faster than porcelain. A dentist will produce the composite veneers on site, so the procedure can be completed during a single visit. Because the doctor produces the veneer in the office and molds it directly on top of the existing tooth, people can walk out of the office with an improved smile on day one.

Major Advantages of Composite Veneers

Composite veneers require minimal preparation. The dentist can leave the current tooth intact, and merely pre-treat the tooth surface to help the veneer bond. 

They’re easier to repair than porcelain veneers. When a resin composite veneer cracks or fractures (which can also occur with porcelain veneers or crowns), an experienced dentist can repair or reinforce it with supplemental material without having to remove it. (A porcelain veneer needs to be removed and replaced.)

The dentist can color match numerous composite veneers. Due to the nature of the resin itself, a provider can add and blend different colors such that future veneers will match (and not look different tooth by tooth). 

Same-day completion without an additional appointment. A composite veneer requires a single visit to the dentist, rather than a return trip for the application. 

Lower costs. Since the dentist can fabricate composite veneers in house (without sending an order to a lab), they can pass that savings directly to patients. 

patient with veneers
Image by Aleksandr Rybalko by Getty Images by Canva.com

Do Composite Veneers Last Longer than Porcelain Veneers?

For people wondering how long do composite veneers last or if composite veneers last longer than porcelain, that’s a common concern. The materials are inarguably different, and so is the lifespan. 

Porcelain veneers are made from a stronger material than resin, and so they tend to last longer. Composite veneers are more prone to chipping and visible damage than porcelain veneers. Resin also breaks down faster than porcelain, which could mean that composite veneers need to be replaced sooner than porcelain. Porcelain veneers can last upwards of 20 years, while composite veneers may need to be replaced within 5-7 years

Are Composite Veneers More Costly than Porcelain Veneers?

Whether patients select porcelain or composite veneers, dental veneers are an investment. For some patients, the costs associated with porcelain veneers can be prohibitive. Composites may be an option for people who are looking into alternatives to porcelain veneers due to price alone. 

Because composite veneers take less time and the material itself is less expensive than porcelain, many patients are now turning to them as an affordable alternative. 

What is Cosmedent? 

Cosmedent is a well-known brand of cosmetic dentistry products, and including composite veneers. Seen to many as forerunners in the field of veneers, the company produces a range of resin-based products for dentists to improve tooth health and appearance. Dentists may elect to Cosmedent-branded products to seal and fill everything from cavities to chips, cracks, and more. 

For more information about their product line, it’s always a good idea to can speak directly to a dental health provider or oral surgeon. 

Where to Find a Dentist to Answer Questions about Composite vs. Porcelain Veneers

For more information about composite or porcelain veneers, it’s important to speak with a knowledgeable dentist to help navigate the pros and cons of each. Find a dentist in your area who can provide the right guidance for your situation, and give the smile and confidence you deserve.