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What are Composite Veneers?

Veneers are thin shells that fit over your natural teeth to improve their appearance. They’re one of several ways to change the appearance of teeth.

There are two main types of veneers:

  1. Composite veneers are usually made of a tooth-colored resin, the same material used for dental bonds. 
  2. Porcelain veneers are made of porcelain, which is very durable and looks almost identical to natural teeth.  

It’s essential to consider your budget and expectations when choosing a veneer material.

Who is a Candidate for Composite Veneers? 

Veneers can give you an even, bright smile. They’re great for people who want to cover up tooth imperfections.

These imperfections can include teeth that are:

  • Crooked
  • Misshapen
  • Stained
  • Chipped
  • Discolored
  • Eroded

Veneers are different from crowns, also known as ‘caps.’ Crowns are thicker and cover the whole tooth, while veneers only cover part of it.

Crowns also require more tooth trimming. Veneers only require minimal enamel removal before placement. Both are permanent solutions. 

If your teeth are in decent shape and you just want to improve their appearance, veneers might be the right choice. Crowns are usually used to restore damaged or decaying teeth. They are also placed after root canal treatment.

Composite Veneers Procedure 

Your dentist begins the procedure by cleaning your teeth thoroughly. 

They may need to remove a thin layer of enamel to allow the material to stick to your teeth. Sometimes, teeth don’t need to be cut if they only need minor shape or color changes.

The process differs afterward depending on whether you’re getting direct or indirect veneers. 

The main difference between direct and indirect composite veneers is the application procedure. The material is the same. 

Direct veneers

Before applying direct veneers, your dentist etches the enamel of your teeth with adhesion. Next, they use dental glue to bond the composite resin to your teeth.

After this step, they apply thin layers of composite material to the tooth surfaces. They will then cure, or quickly harden, the composite resin with an LED light.

Indirect veneers

Indirect veneers are produced outside of the mouth.

First, the dentist takes a mold of your teeth. When the indirect veneers are ready, your dentist applies them by etching your teeth. 

Next, they’ll apply an adhesive material to your teeth. This bonding agent keeps the veneers in place. Your dentist will then fix the composite veneers onto your teeth. 

Your dentist will also use a light to harden the adhesive. They’ll clean up any stray edges and polish your teeth afterward.

Many people don’t require anesthesia during this process. If you do need anesthesia, you should be fine to return to work or other activities once it wears off.

Pros and Cons of Composite Veneers

As with all procedures, veneers have advantages and disadvantages. Read below to determine if this treatment is right for you: 

Pros 

Here are some pros of composite veneers:

1. Natural-Looking

Composite veneers are color-matched to your teeth for a natural look. Your dentist can use a shade guide during the consultation to help you choose the appropriate color.

2. Convenient

Unlike porcelain, composite veneers can be placed over your teeth in one visit. This is because they’re sculpted directly onto your teeth same-day. 

3. Affordable

Because composite veneers are applied in one day, they’re more affordable than porcelain options. Porcelain veneers are around twice as expensive as composite veneers.

The price of veneers is typically calculated per tooth. If you only need small repairs, such as chips, slight discoloration, or minor misalignment, composite veneers are a cost-effective option.

Cons

Here are some cons of composite veneers:

1. Durability

Composite veneers work well for a quick and easy fix. However, they don’t last as long as porcelain veneers. 

With excellent care, composite veneers last around 5 years. Porcelain veneers can last 10 years or more.

Composite veneers aren’t as strong as porcelain and can be damaged with improper care. Fortunately, damaged composite is relatively easy to fix. 

2. Stains Easily

Composite resin can stain easily. 

If you end up choosing these veneers, it’s important to change your diet and limit or avoid coffee, red wine, and tobacco. These substances, among others, can discolor the resin. 

This lifestyle change can be very difficult for some people.

How Much Do Composite Veneers Cost?

Although less expensive than porcelain, composite veneers can still be costly. 

Applying veneers is also a time-consuming process. It’s essential to seek an experienced cosmetic dentist who uses high-quality materials. 

The cost of composite veneers varies depending on various factors, including:

  • Location of the dental office
  • Expertise of the dentist (general vs. cosmetic) 
  • How many veneers you need

Typically, composite veneers cost between $250 and $1,500 per tooth.

If you’re getting composite veneers for cosmetic reasons, you’ll likely have to pay the bill out-of-pocket. Insurance doesn’t cover cosmetic dental procedures.

However, if your tooth is damaged, your insurance might pay for part or all of the cost. Though they might only cover crowns and other restorations. 

If cost is a concern, speak with your dentist about financing options. You might be able to set up a payment plan. Some dentists also offer discounts if you have a certain number of veneers applied at once.

Porcelain vs. Composite Veneers 

Composite resin and porcelain are the most popular materials used for veneers. Both have the potential to transform your smile.

However, it’s important to know which type of veneer is right for you. Cost and treatment time might play a role in your decision.

Here are some of the main differences between composite and porcelain veneers:

Costs 

Composite veneers cost between $250 and $1,500 per tooth. Porcelain veneers cost between $925 and $2,500 per tooth.

Material

Porcelain is a significantly stronger material than composite resin, even considering the improvement in resin over the years.

Porcelain veneers provide the most natural, tooth-like appearance. Porcelain has a translucent quality that’s similar to tooth enamel. It’s also highly resistant to staining and chipping. This is due to the strength of the material and the glaze your dentist applies after treatment.

Composite veneers are more porous and susceptible to staining. The material also needs to be polished to achieve a tooth-like appearance. Even then, it doesn’t quite compare to porcelain.

Durability

Well-looked after porcelain veneers can last 10 years or more. Composite veneers last for around 5 years.1 

It’s essential to consider this investment if you’re thinking about having your dentist place veneers. While composites cost less than porcelain, they may only last half as long.

Porcelain is fragile, but it's highly durable once it’s applied to a healthy tooth. Composite is durable but not to the same extent as porcelain. It’s also more prone to chipping.

If damage occurs to a porcelain veneer, it has to be replaced. It can’t be repaired. If you chip a composite veneer, it can be repaired.

Summary

  • If you feel self-conscious about your teeth, veneers could be an excellent choice.
  • Veneers give you an even, white smile and can cover most tooth imperfections.
  • There are two types of veneers: composite and porcelain. Both have pros and cons.
  • Generally, porcelain veneers are stronger and more durable than composites but are more costly.
  • Because all veneers are relatively expensive, be sure to explore your options before committing to them.
Last updated on April 24, 2022
5 Sources Cited
Last updated on April 24, 2022
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  1. Alothman, Yousef, and Maryam Saleh Bamasoud. “The Success of Dental Veneers According To Preparation Design and Material Type.” Open access Macedonian journal of medical sciences vol. 6,12 2402-2408. 14 Dec. 2018
  2. Korkut, Bora. “Smile makeover with direct composite veneers: A two-year follow-up report.” Journal of dental research, dental clinics, dental prospects vol. 12,2 : 146-151
  3. Korkut, Bora et al. “Direct composite laminate veneers: three case reports.” Journal of dental research, dental clinics, dental prospects vol. 7,2 : 105-11
  4. Fahl, Newton Jr,, and André V Ritter. “Composite veneers: The direct-indirect technique revisited.” Journal of esthetic and restorative dentistry : official publication of the American Academy of Esthetic Dentistry ... [et al.] vol. 33,1 : 7-19
  5. Gomes, George, and Jorge Perdigão. “Prefabricated composite resin veneers--a clinical review.” Journal of esthetic and restorative dentistry : official publication of the American Academy of Esthetic Dentistry ... [et al.] vol. 26,5 : 302-13
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