Dental Veneers: Porcelain vs. Resin

What Are Dental Veneers?

Dental veneers cover the front part of your teeth and are designed to appear natural.
Dental veneers cover the front part of your teeth and are designed to appear natural.

What are dental veneers? You can think of them as a mask for your teeth. They cover only the front part. But unlike a clown or ghost mask, dental veneers appear natural. Veneers can improve the look of teeth that have: 

  • Stains that won’t go away
  • Odd shapes
  • Chips or worn places
  • Gaps between them

You can get dental veneers in porcelain or composite resin. That second one is the same material that’s in some dental fillings. Your dentist can suggest which type might work best for you. Here’s information about veneers that can help you decide whether you might benefit from a veneer.

Before You Get Veneers

As you explore the possibility of getting veneers, here are some things you should know.

The cost of veneers varies. It depends on who does the work and how many teeth need veneers. 

Discuss any questions or concerns you have with your dentist. You might ask how many veneers she has placed. Express what you are hoping to achieve with dental veneers. This will help you and the dentist create the best plan for you. If you clench or grind your teeth, ask the dentist whether a night guard will protect razor-thin veneers from chips or breaks.

If you have any dental disease or decay, you will need treatment for those before you can get veneers. You might also need X-rays before starting the process. 

Before placing a veneer, your dentist must remove a small amount of enamel. This helps the veneer fit well and look natural. But you can’t reverse it.

Porcelain Dental Veneers

A porcelain veneer is a white shell. They are “made to order” for each tooth that needs one. 

People may choose porcelain over resin because they are: 

  • Stronger than resin ones 
  • Less likely to stain 
  • Look more natural

If you choose porcelain, here’s what to expect during the process:  

  1. You will get a shot to numb your mouth, so you won’t feel pain. (But you may be a little sore afterward.) 
  2. Your dentist will remove a small amount of enamel from the front and sides of your tooth. 
  3. The dentist will then make a mold (impression) of the teeth getting veneers and choose a shade of white that will match the nearby teeth. 
  4. The dentist may place a temporary veneer that you wear while you wait a few days for a lab to custom make your veneers. 
  5. Once your veneers are ready, the dentist will place them on your teeth and check their fit and shape. 
  6. She will remove each veneer, clean your tooth, and bond it to the tooth. 

Let your dentist know if your bite doesn’t feel right. She will correct it before you leave. If needed, she can also make more changes at a later visit.

Composite Resin Veneers

Your dentist makes this type of veneer  from dental filling material the color of a tooth.

People may choose resin over porcelain because:

  • Dentists remove less enamel to place this type of veneer.
  • You can get them in just one visit.
  • They cost less than porcelain veneers.
  • Repairs of damaged ones are quicker and easier.

If you choose resin, here’s what to expect during the procedure:  

  1. You will get a shot to numb your mouth, so you won’t feel pain. (But you may be a little sore afterward.) 
  2. Your dentist will remove a small amount of enamel from the front and sides of your tooth. 
  3. She’ll sculpt the resin onto your tooth using a color that matches your teeth. 
  4. She’ll use a special light to harden and bond it to your tooth.
  5. She’ll smooth and polish your tooth. 

Let your dentist know if your bite feels funny. She will correct it before you leave.

After the Procedure

Your new veneers might feel strange for a little while. For the first few days, eat softer foods. 

You might have to change some old habits to protect your veneers. Be sure to:

  • Avoid biting your nails or other hard things, like ice.
  • Avoid drinks that stain, like red wine, coffee, and tea.
  • Brush and floss, even around the veneers.
  • Get yearly exams and professional cleanings every 6 months.

If a veneer ever comes off, save it and call your dentist.

References
(c)2019 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

ADA: “Dental Veneers,” “Veneers.”

American College of Prosthodontists: “Dental Veneers FAQ.”
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