Since the invention of the porcelain laminate veneer in the early 1980s, cosmetic dentistry has become a global phenomenon. Developments in orthodontic techniques and digital technology means than more adults than ever are able to enhance their smile through cosmetic dentistry. Porcelain and composite resin veneers are an increasingly popular alternative to crowns due to their less invasive nature, but there are several things to consider when choosing between the two materials. Dr Mark Hughes explains the pros and cons below.
Porcelain veneers have led the way in cosmetic dentistry and can provide a long-lasting solution. Unlike the original 1980s design which often resulted in the appearance of thick teeth, modern veneers use digital techniques to design a smile suited to the patient, applied by highly skilled cosmetic dentists and dental ceramists. Without doubt, porcelain veneers have the best durability and, with correct placement and tooth preparation, can last 20 years before replacement. Strong and non-staining, porcelain is less detrimental to overall gum and tooth health. However, as the tooth enamel must be removed to attach the veneer, they are a permanent and irreversible solution and you need to be prepared to invest longer-term in their maintenance.
In recent years, bonding using composite resins has become increasingly popular for smaller alterations. Often as effective as porcelain at mimicking tooth enamel and enhancing your smile, composite resin bonding requires minimal tooth reduction as the resin can be shaped and moulded over the tooth. Typically carried out in one session, this procedure is usually around 50% cheaper than porcelain veneers. However, it’s important to note that composite resins will stain over time, from red wine, coffee, tea, and will collect plaque much more easily than porcelain veneers, causing greater inflammation of the gums. In addition, they are less durable than porcelain, often needing refurbishment or replacement after only three to four years.
So, what else to consider? For many patients, budget is a critical factor and the outlay on porcelain veneers can be seen as prohibitive. As is often the case however, the long term costs of maintaining composite resin veneers often outweighs the short term savings of a cheaper treatment. Age is also a consideration – composite resin is my preferred option for younger patients under the age of 25 as it avoids any tooth preparation, but for patients who already have many porcelain crowns or veneers, it would not be appropriate to introduce composite resin.
The key message is that not one size fits all.
The key message is that not one size fits all. Veneers are one of cosmetic dentistry’s most effective solutions, able to alter tooth look, shape, colour and size, but it’s important to fully discuss your options to understand what’s appropriate for you. When choosing a cosmetic or aesthetic dentist, ensure you review their qualifications, training, and their portfolio of past work. It’s also important to be very clear about the results you want, in order to reach the best solution for you.
For more information, or to explore Porcelain Veneers or Composite Bonding options with Dr Mark Hughes at Define Clinic, get in touch to book your free consultation.