Composite veneers are used to improve the colour, shape, size and texture of teeth to make them more attractive. They can be used to fix minor chips and cracks in teeth. They are different from porcelain veneers in that they require little if any tooth reduction (drilling) and the treatment can be completed in a single visit. However unlike porcelain veneers, composite veneers can be prone to staining and may not last as long. To create composite veneers, composite material is applied to the front surfaces of the teeth and sculpted to the desired shape and finish under the hands of an experienced cosmetic dentist.
Can any dentist provide composite veneers?
The short answer is no. In order to achieve natural looking composite veneers your dentist must have an artistic flair and the technical skills required to carry out this type of treatment. A cosmetic dentist experienced in composite veneers will have a clear understanding of the properties of dental materials and experience in hand-crafting and replicating the shape, texture and characteristics of teeth. Every individual is unique and has a different tooth shape, smile line and symmetry, an experienced dentist will take all these factors into account when creating composite veneers.
How will i know if my dentist is capable of creating a good composite veneer?
If you are unsure if your dentist is experienced in providing composite veneers it is always advisable to ask to see a portfolio of their composite veneers, most experienced cosmetic dentists will keep a record of before and after photos of work that they have carried out.
What are composite veneers used for?
Composite veneers can be used for treating a wide range of cosmetic dental problems in the same way as porcelain veneers are used. Common problems include:
Crooked teeth - if your teeth are crooked an ideal way to achieve a straight white smile would be to undergo rapid orthodontic treatment with something like the Inman Aligner, 6 month smiles or invisalign followed be teeth whitening and composite veneers. This combination of treatments is known as Align, Bleach and Bond (ABB) and is a technique that has been pioneered by Dr Tif Qureshi.
Stained teeth - When there are undesirable stains, white patches, and/or discoulouration of the teeth which cannot be treated with a dental clean or teeth whitening alone, them composite veneers are an ideal solution.
Damaged teeth - When your teeth have been damaged by acid erosion (bulimia or fizzy drinks) or chipped by accident, composite veneers (cosmetic bonding) are often the most ideal, minimally invasive and cost effective solution.
Closing gaps between teeth - One of the most common cosmetic complaints that composite bonding is used for is to close gaps between the front teeth (diastema) or other teeth. This treatment can be completed in a single visits and is a very cost effective alternative to orthodontic treatment or porcelain veneers.
How long do composite veneers last?
This depends on many factors; the type of composite material used (there is a big difference in the quality of different composite materials), the aftercare and habits of the patient (ie if the patient continued to drink a lot of fizzy drinks and grinds their teeth then this would reduce their longevity). On average, Composite veneers can last between 2 - 5 years.
What are the alternatives to Composite veneers?
this depends on the underlying cosmetic complaint but in general alternatives would include porcelain restorations such as veneers and crowns or orthodontic treatments to close gaps and straighten crooked teeth. During a consolation with a good cosmetic dentist you will be able to discuss all the possible options that are available to you as well as the pros and cons of each option.
Comparison table: Composite Veneers vs Porcelain veneers
|A good final outcome requires the skills of a very experienced and artistic cosmetic dentist and cannot be achieved by all dentists.||End result is more predictable and relies on the skills of a laboratory technician and the dentist.|
|Do not last as long need replacing every 2 - 5 years.||Last longer and more resistant to wear, generally 5 - 12 years depending on aftercare.|
|Procedure can be completed in a single appointment.||Procedure usually takes 2-3 visits unless you are having CEREC porcelain veneers.|
|Composite veneers are more prone to staining.||Porcelain veneers are not susceptible to staining.|
|Cheaper option and more tooth friendly as little if any tooth reduction is needed.||More expensive and more destructive to your natural tooth structure as they require some drilling (preparation).|
|Composite Veneers||Porcelain Dental Veneers|
Procedure for bonding of composite veneers
A consultation and examination with a cosmetic dentist will determine if you are suitable for composite veneers. It is important that you do not have any active gum disease / inflamation prior to commencing any cosmetic treatment.
Before undergoing any veneer procedure the desired colour of the final teeth needs to be decided during a consultation. If a patient wants to have whiter teeth then teeth whitening must be carried out prior to placing the veneers and then the veneers can be colour matched to the surrounding natural teeth. It must be noted that in order to maintain a white smile you may need to top up your teeth whitening periodically.
Your teeth will first be thoroughly cleaned to remove any surface build up of calucus / plaque and provide a clean surface for the veneers.
Your teeth are thoroughly dried and isolated using a rubber dam to ensure there isn't any moisture / saliva present that could interfere with the bonding material. The front surfaces of the teeth are then etched with acid to chemically roughen the surface of the teeth which helps the composite material to adhere to your tooth surface.
Then, bonding agent (glue) is applied to the surface of the etched teeth, and composite material is added slowly in layers to build up the tooth. A repeated process of addition, removal and sculpting of composite martial followed by polishing is used to create the final veneer. The final result is highly dependent on the artistic skill of the cosmetic dentist.
How much to composite veneers cost?
The price of composite veneers will depend on the quality of the materials used, how technically demanding the case is and the skill / experince of the dentist in this field. Typically prices start from £250 upto £800 per tooth.