When it comes to cosmetic dentistry, most people envision porcelain veneers. At least that’s what you see on shows like Extreme Makeover or in ads for cosmetic dentists. While porcelain veneers are a very commonly performed cosmetic dental procedure, they are not the only treatment option for improving your smile.
At Prosper Family Dentistry, we offer cosmetic dentistry options that are both beautiful and conservative.
What is a Composite Veneer?
The term veneer simply means overlay or covering. In dentistry, a veneer covers the entire visible surface of a tooth. As we mentioned earlier, most people are familiar with porcelain veneers. What many do not know is that we can also cover a tooth with a perfectly matched, tooth-colored filling material called composite resin. There are a few important differences between a porcelain veneer and a composite veneer.
A dental lab technician makes porcelain veneers on a replica, or model, of the teeth. Your dentist makes the composite veneers directly on your teeth. While both types of veneers have an adhesive bond to tooth structure, there are differences in the material characteristics of the two options. Porcelain is extremely strong, but also very hard and brittle. Composite resin has a hardness that is closer to natural tooth structure.
What are the Advantages of Composite Veneers?
Each type of veneer offers certain advantages over the other. Composite veneers have several qualities that we appreciate. We feel that these specific advantages make composite veneers a wonderful cosmetic treatment option for many of our patients!
- Minimal drilling – The dental material used for composite veneers, composite resin, does not require any specific thickness for strength as porcelain does. The dentist may need to recontour certain rough areas or reshape areas on a tooth that could appear bulky. But in general, there is very little drilling of natural tooth structure in preparation of composite veneers.
- Usually painless – Because there is little drilling, there is also minimal sensitivity or pain associated with the procedure. For most composite veneer procedures, the patient does not even require any local anesthetic. No shots, minimal drilling, no pain.
- Single dental visit – Because the dentist creates the veneers directly in the patient’s mouth, this is a single visit procedure. When we say “single visit”, that does not include any pre-operative planning, like photos, study models, preview models, etc . . . The veneers themselves require only one visit with the dentist. This stands in contrast to porcelain veneers, which require two visits: one for the preparation and model of the teeth sent to the lab, and the second for the placement of the veneers on the teeth.
- No temporary veneers – Because porcelain veneers require two to three weeks in the lab for fabrication, the dentist must cover your prepared teeth with temporary veneer material. Some people find these uncomfortable or awkward.
- Repairable – One of the most important advantages of composite veneers is our ability to repair them. If a porcelain veneer breaks, the entire thing must come off, and the dentist starts from scratch. If a composite veneer chips or cracks, the dentist can repair it directly in the mouth.
- Will not damage opposing teeth – The hardness of porcelain veneers can lead to wear on the teeth that bite against them. Because composite is a softer material, it will not damage those opposing teeth.
Am I a Candidate for Composite Veneers?
In order to learn whether you are a candidate for composite veneers, we need to see you in person and evaluate your dental situation. We also like to have thorough conversations regarding your specific desires for your smile. In general, we can improve the following cosmetic smile problems with composite veneers:
- Small gaps between the teeth
- One or more teeth that appear too small
- Unevenness of the biting edges of the teeth
- Stains or discolorations that do not respond to teeth whitening
More Questions about Composite Veneers or Any Other Cosmetic Dentistry Option?
Call Prosper Family Dentistry today at 972-347-1145 to schedule a cosmetic consultation with Dr. Jill, Dr. Cara, and Dr. Summer. We can answer any question you have about your cosmetic dentistry options and assess your specific situation to make a customized recommendation.