If you are considering getting veneers, you may be wondering about the different types that exist – and which one might be best for you. Dental veneers are ultra thin tooth-colored shells that fit over the front of your teeth to improve their appearance. They can be made from various materials, including zirconia, composite resin or ceramic, and porcelain.
Nevertheless, most cosmetic dentists, including us here at Uptown Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry, consider porcelain the superior veneer material when it comes to strength, quality, durability, and aesthetics.
Here are our top seven reasons why porcelain veneers are the better choice for your dental restorations.
Porcelain Veneers Can Solve Multiple Cosmetic Problems At Once
There’s no denying the fact that porcelain veneers are a considerable investment. But while a full set of veneers can set you back several thousand dollars, one thing to consider is that, unlike other treatments, like braces or dental bonding, veneers can actually fix several cosmetic issues at the same time.
Skilled dentists such as Dr. Velasco and Dr. Barrilleaux can use porcelain veneers to correct a number of concerns, including:
- Crooked, misaligned, irregular, crowded, or uneven teeth
- Chipped or cracked teeth
- Missing teeth
- Heavily stained or discolored teeth
- Short or worn teeth
- Gaps between teeth
- Worn enamel
- Tooth sensitivity
- Gummy smiles
Porcelain Veneers Look and Feel Incredibly Natural
One issue with ceramic or composite veneers is that they can often look quite opaque, giving your teeth a flat, artificial appearance. Conversely, porcelain veneers offer the most natural, tooth-like aesthetic for several reasons: first, porcelain is translucent, which means that it catches light in a way that’s very similar to tooth enamel. This creates a visual depth effect that gives your smile a natural, healthy sheen.
Additionally, porcelain veneers are custom-made at a specialized off-site lab just for you, ensuring that the shape and color of each veneer blends in perfectly with your natural teeth. The application process involves the dentist carefully removing a tiny bit of your tooth enamel to make way for the veneers, which guarantees a perfect fit. In contrast, composite veneers are molded directly into each tooth without altering its structure, so they may end up making your teeth look a little thick and bulky.
Porcelain Veneers Won’t Fade, Discolor, or Stain
Composite or ceramic veneers are made from the same tooth-colored resin that’s used to fill cavities and bond teeth. They are usually more affordable than porcelain veneers and have the advantage of being sculpted directly into each tooth, which means that you can walk out with a brand new smile in just one appointment.
One significant downside to ceramic veneers, though, is that they are susceptible to discoloration or staining from smoking, eating or drinking dark foods and beverages, and other lifestyle habits. This means that you will need to get them refreshed or replaced considerably sooner than any other type of veneer.
Porcelain veneers, on the other hand, are extremely resistant to staining, yellowing, and discoloration – even more so than your natural teeth. This is because, unlike composite resin (and enamel), porcelain is known for being very smooth and non-porous, which makes it nearly impossible for things like food and other debris to catch onto the veneer’s surface. So with proper care, you won’t ever have to worry about whitening or bleaching your porcelain veneers.
Porcelain Veneers Are Easy to Maintain
While both porcelain and composite veneers require the same oral hygiene habits as your natural teeth, porcelain is more durable and, therefore, a lot easier to maintain. As long as you brush and floss daily following your dentist’s recommendations, you can keep your porcelain veneers in tip-top condition for a very long time. Like your natural teeth, a comprehensive oral care routine with porcelain veneers should include:
- Brushing at least twice daily, preferably with a soft-bristle electric toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste
- Flossing at least once a day
- Rinsing with an antiseptic alcohol-free mouthwash once or twice a day after brushing
In addition to practicing good oral hygiene daily, these tips will also help you care for and maintain your porcelain veneers:
- Avoid chewing on non-food objects, like your fingernails, pens, pencils, ice, etc.
- Avoid grinding or clenching your teeth, or talk to your dentist about getting a custom mouth guard to protect your veneers
- Visit your dentist regularly for a general and preventive checkup
- Limit sugary snacks to protect your natural teeth from cavities and decay
Porcelain Veneers Can Last Up to 20 Years
One of the most significant differences between porcelain and composite resin veneers is their durability. Ceramic or composite veneers are considered a temporary solution because they need replacing within 4-8 years after application. This is because the material will often start to wear, stain, and chip away after a few years of use.
On the other hand, porcelain veneers have become the industry standard not only because they look better than their composite counterparts, but also because they are more robust and extremely durable.
Although most people would think of porcelain as a fragile and easily breakable material, it is actually incredibly tough. In fact, evidence shows that porcelain veneers last an average of 15-20 years before you need to replace them or have them restored. And you can further extend their life with good oral care and regular checkups.
Porcelain Veneers Strengthen Your Teeth
Do you have a chipped or cracked tooth that makes you feel self-conscious or too afraid to bite down on food? Applying a porcelain veneer to a fractured tooth will strengthen it and restore its normal function without the need for oral surgery or extraction.
Some people also choose to get veneers because they have little or no enamel left on their teeth due to health problems or eating habits. If you have sensitive or weak teeth that are susceptible to breaking or chipping, porcelain veneers can act like an added layer of protection in front of your natural teeth, which means that you can eat and drink again without worrying about sensitivity and potential tooth cracks.
Porcelain Veneers Are Minimally Invasive
One of the most common questions we get asked at Uptown Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry is whether porcelain veneers ‘hurt’ your teeth. The short answer is no! Porcelain veneers do not damage or ruin your teeth in any way as long as you have them applied by a qualified cosmetic dentist, like Dr. Velasco and Dr. Barrilleaux. Here’s a quick rundown of what you can expect from your veneer treatment at Uptown:
- Exam and mock-ups: the first step involves undergoing an initial examination where your dentist will take x-rays and impressions of your teeth, which will be used to create your new set of veneers. You will also have the opportunity to discuss your goals and concerns and work with your doctor to find the ideal color, shape, and size for your new veneers. Then, your dentist will create a series of mock-ups or image renditions so you can see what the results will look like beforehand.
- Veneer application: the day of the procedure, the dentist will carefully remove a tiny sliver of your enamel to make room for the veneers and make sure your bite and the positioning of your teeth are not altered in any way. Temporary veneers are applied during this appointment while the permanent set is being fabricated. When the permanent pieces arrive, your dentist will use a medical-grade bonding agent to cement the veneers in place.
It can take you a week or two to get used to your new veneers. Some patients experience mild tooth sensitivity a few days following the procedure, but it usually goes away on its own within a couple of weeks. At your follow-up appointment, your dentist will once again check your bite and teeth alignment to ensure the most comfortable fit possible. Once you’re used to them, your porcelain veneers will look and feel exactly like your natural teeth.
Smile Again With Porcelain Veneers
Whether you are looking for a full smile makeover or to fix a tooth or two, porcelain veneers are a minimally invasive restoration that can make an enormous difference in your teeth’s appearance and function. At the end of the day, the decision of getting composite or porcelain veneers largely depends on your goals, budget, and the current state of your teeth, but keep in mind that porcelain veneers are generally the more durable and better-quality option.
It’s important to note, however, that the success of your porcelain veneers will depend greatly on the skill of your dentist, regardless of the materials that they use. At Uptown Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry, Dr. Robert Velasco and Dr. Camilla Barrilleaux have decades of experience helping patients in Houston and beyond achieve their dream smiles through porcelain veneers and other cosmetic dentistry services. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation!