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A veneer is a thin casing of either porcelain or composite resin that is bonded to the front surface of a tooth to improve its appearance. It can be used to eliminate the problem of stained or dark teeth, close spaces between teeth or reshape a tooth that is shortened by wear.
Porcelain veneers are the superior choice as they are longer lasting and have a more natural tooth enamel appearance due to their semi-translucent properties. They are less prone to staining or chipping. Because they are so natural looking, porcelain veneers are the best choice when several teeth are being restored. For areas of more wear, porcelain veneers are also preferable as they are more durable.
Composite resin veneers are the same material as white fillings and are bonded directly to the tooth by the dentist in just one visit, unlike porcelain veneers which are made in the laboratory by our technicians. Hence these are quicker and cheaper than porcelain veneers. Although they are more susceptible to staining, they are fairly simple and quick to restore and recommended for just one or two teeth where less stress on the bite is placed. They also require no preparation for your tooth, unlike porcelain, and can be bonded directly without the need for removing any enamel.
Your choice should be based on how many teeth require veneers, is the tooth requiring a veneer a tooth that has stress placed upon it due to your bite?, what is your budget? and other considerations. Your dentist is the best person to advise you of your options.
With good care, porcelain veneers can last around ten years. Composite veneers last around 5-8 years but are less expensive and quicker to repair.
You will know when you are ready to replace them. Composite veneers may become stained and porcelain veneers may have stained or chipped over the duration of a decade.
Composite veneers are the cheaper and quicker option as they are made directly by the dentist whereas a dental technician has to fabricate the porcelain veneer in a laboratory. Composite veneers are usually around $500-700 each and porcelain veneers are around $2000 each.
See your dentist. They will be able to let you know which is best for you depending on your bite and how many veneers you need to reach your desired effect.