When opting for aesthetic or cosmetic dentistry one of the options to create that perfect smile is veneer therapy. As the name suggests these treatments involve full or partial facings of teeth to correct misalignment, form, colour and spacing issues. It’s an increasingly popular treatment but it’s not a simple yes or no choice. Veneers come in two main types: composite and porcelain and both offer different pros and cons.
Porcelain is like a fine China Plate
If you talk to most dentists they’ll tell you that strength and longevity is the biggest difference between composite and porcelain veneers. If you imagine that composite is a form of plastic whereas porcelain is closer to the construction of the original teeth. Composite is more prone to staining, chipping and porous whereas porcelain is much stronger, generally colour fast due to a glaze.
As one tongue-in-cheek Seattle dentist explained, “composite is like Tupperware, porcelain is like a fine China plate”. Whilst this may be a little simplistic you can expect porcelain veneers to last up twice as long as composite ones, perhaps up to 25 years.
Composite veneers have come a long way
So, it’s the porcelain for you then right? Well not necessarily. Composite veneers also have an important place in aesthetic dentistry. For a start, they can be significantly cheaper than porcelain and can be much easier to apply, sometimes in one sitting, whereas porcelain veneers will undoubtedly require repeat visits and may require some changes to the underlying tooth structure.
Because composite is easier to apply it’s also easier to fix and change. The cost and the fact that porcelain veneers are manufactured in a lab make it more difficult to make changes later. Also composite materials and techniques have come a long way and although the results may not be quite as impressive as porcelain they can still be highly realistic.
There is no single answer to the question and before you make your mind up you should have a full discussion with your dentist. Here at 76 Harley Street we offer both treatments and we will always make the decision in conjunction with the patient, based on their unique requirement.