Dental veneers are a type of cosmetic dental procedure involving the placement of thin shells of a material used to conceal cosmetic defects like small chips and stains or discoloration. There are two basic types of dental veneers available: composite and porcelain.
Composite Dental Veneers
Composite is a material that starts out as a putty-like substance, eventually drying into a solid form after being “cured” by a special light.
Composite Dental Veneers Features:
- Conceals minor cosmetic issues
- Relatively inexpensive
- Only requires one dental visit
Composite dental veneers are applied directly to your teeth by your dentist while you sit in the dentist chair. The material is sculpted onto the teeth in layers. Once your dentist has achieved the correct contours for your composite veneers, the material is left to harden. It is then carefully polished for a smooth finish.
Composite veneers are not as popular as porcelain for a few reasons: For one, the material is not as durable as porcelain. Composite can also become stained, just like natural teeth. So make sure that you avoid consuming beverages known to stain teeth, like coffee, tea and red wine. And do not smoke tobacco products.
Porcelain Dental Veneers
Porcelain dental veneers are constructed in a dental laboratory that uses an impression formed by your dentist.
Receiving porcelain dental veneers requires more than one dental visit while you wait for the dental lab to manufacture your new veneers. Once your dentist has received them from the dental lab, you will return to actually have them placed on your teeth.
Porcelain Dental Veneers Features:
- Strong, durable material
- Color is a close match to natural teeth
- Lasts significantly longer than composite
At your first visit, your dentist will make an impression of your teeth that will be used by the dental laboratory to create your veneers. Your dentist will need to remove a small amount of tooth structure to make room for your new porcelain veneers.
At a subsequent appointment, your dentist will attach your new porcelain veneers to your teeth using a dental adhesive.
Although porcelain veneers are more durable and stain resistant than composite, they are also more expensive. And they require more than one dental appointment for placement.
Best Candidates for Dental Veneers
The best candidates for dental veneers are those who have adult teeth and desire cosmetic enhancements like concealing chips and having a whiter smile.
Patients should understand that getting porcelain veneers is a permanent procedure. Some amount of tooth enamel will need to be removed prior to placement, so there is no going back after you have received porcelain veneers.