Composite veneers or Composite bondings are applications of composite dental material on to the teeth to improve the appearance or aesthetics of those teeth. They are used to change the colour, shape, and size of the teeth to make them more attractive.
To achieve excellent results, Composite veneers are technically and artistically very demanding. They should only be done by a highly experienced Dentist that:
- Understands dental materials very well and is aware of the properties of different materials.
- Is a very artistic person. This is because composite veneers are directly done on the teeth by a bonding process (see below for details) by means of addition, removal, and sculpturing into a desirable final shape and size. They need not only to match the adjacent teeth and be symmetrical, but they must also match the overall shape of the arch and facial profile.
- Must have good knowledge of individual tooth morphology and their different styles.
Patients should always ensure that the provider of such treatment has enough experience in doing composite veneer. One of the best ways to assess this is by looking at photos of previous works done.
When are Composite veneers used and advisable to do?
Composite veneers are suitable for a variety of situations, examples of which include:
Damaged teeth – In situations like damaged or chipped front teeth, most commonly trauma, resulting in part of a tooth or teeth to break off. Depending on the size of the broken segment, composite veneers can be the simplest, most ideal, conservative, and cost effective way to restore the tooth to its original shape and size. The difficulty in these situations is to try to hide the repaired segment and make it un-noticeable and match it in shade and colour. At Pearl Dental Clinic, we have a good record of achieving this as our case photos in our Galleries show.
Stained/Crooked teeth – When there are undesirable stains, white patches, and/or segmented discoulouration of the teeth which are not resolvable by Teeth whitening alone. Again Composite veneers can be the ideal and cost effective choice of treatment, with the most effective aesthetic result.
Composite veneers can also be used to dampen/reduce or fully correct the misalignment of crooked teeth. Although Composite veneers are not always the best choice of treatment in these situations, depending on the condition of the teeth, with some simple build-ups, fantastic results can be achieved. They can be most suitable in situations where there is a high risk of veneer fracture, as Composite veneers are repairable directly in the mouth. This is one of the biggest advantages of Composite veneers over any other form of veneers. Again, in our photo gallery, several examples of these can be seen.
Closing gaps – One of the most common undesirable situations is gaps between teeth, especially the top two front teeth, known as Diastema. Again Composite veneers can be the ideal choice of treatment. There are many examples in our photo galleries where gaps are fully or partially closed (depending on patients desire). The difficulty in these situations is the colour/shade match, and making the composite veneer not noticeable. At Pearl Dental Clinic, we are proud to show that we have a good record of achieving this. In Diastema closures, there is no tooth removal and only addition to the tooth.
How long do composite veneers last?
The longevity of Composite veneers depends on many factors; the type of material used and the correct follow up of the procedure in doing them. On average, Composite veneers are expected to last between 3 – 10 years.
Composite materials used are similar to the material used for white fillings, but with some differences. They are resin based dental materials with fillers of very small particles. The size of the filler particles is important because it is this property that makes them very polishable and less vulnerable to staining. At Pearl Dental Clinic, only the most modern and very latest developments in this field of dental materials are used to allow us to produce the most aesthetic, polishable and stain resistant Composite veneers.
What are the alternatives to Composite veneers?
Depending on the underlying problem, and the patient’s request, different treatments can be suggested. For example, to close gaps and re-align teeth, Orthodontic treatment such as Invisalign can be considered.
For full Smile makeovers and improvement of the aesthetics, which involve multiple teeth, Porcelain veneers can be considered.
Composite veneers are mostly monochromatic, and aesthetically they are not as good as Porcelain veneers. Hence, when considering full Smile makeovers or when multiple teeth are discoloured (e.g tetracycline staining), Porcelain veneers are more suitable.
In any case, teeth have to be clinically examined and the pros and cons of each option can be considered for each individual case, and a decision regarding treatment made based on this.
Advantages and Disadvantages or Composite and Porcelain veneers.
- Porcelain veneers are more predictable aesthetically, than Composite veneers.
- Porcelain veneers last on average 7 – 10 years and never stain.
- Porcelain veneers are more wear resistant than Composite veneers and are not usually monochromatic.
- When considering Porcelain veneers, it is necessary to do a trial smile, which allows the patient to see the final result the veneers would produce before they are made and cemented to the teeth. Also, to allow the patient to have more direct input in choosing the shape and shade/colour of the veneers.
- Composite veneers are more cost effective and are repairable in the mouth, whereas Porcelain veneers, if damaged or fractured, may have to be completely replaced.
- Composite veneers are usually more conservative and therefore less or no tooth removal is needed (depending on the situation).
- Porcelain veneers usually require many dental visits, where as Composite veneers are done in one visit.
In summary, Composite veneers are more suitable in general for repairs, chipped teeth, correction of limited crowding, stain repair, and some gap closure.
Porcelain veneers are more suitable for improving the Smile, involving several teeth as better aesthetics can be achieved.
Procedure for bonding of Composite veneers
Before placement of any form of veneers, if a patient wishes to have whiter teeth, Teeth whitening should be done first so that the shade/colour of the veneers can be matched to the whitened teeth.
To place Composite veneers, teeth must be clean and no Gingivitis should be present.
Once teeth are debrided, then they are etched to chemically roughen the micro-surface of the teeth to enhance the attachment of the Composite veneer. Good isolation should also be achieved to enhance the bonding process. Presence of any moisture or saliva will interfere with the bonding process, weaken the adhesion to teeth, and increase the likelihood of marginal staining.
Then, bonding agent is applied to the surface of the teeth (hence the name Composite bonding), and composite material is added in layers to build up the tooth. Once this is completed, the sculpturing of the veneer starts by means of removal, and if necessary, addition of composite material, shaping the veneer in to it’s final appearance. Smoothening and polishing is the final stage.
Before and after photos are always taken, so that the differences can be presented to the patient.
Our Practice is open seven days a week from 8am till 11pm. You can book a free Invisalign consultation with one of our experienced dentists by calling 0208 547 9997 or emailing us for further information or to arrange a consultation.