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What are composite dental veneers?
Composite veneers are thin coatings of composite resin (plastic) material applied directly over the front and biting surface of a natural tooth. They are cemented permanently to your teeth.
The composite resin material is colour-matched to your natural tooth colour and perfectly aligned with your gum-line to achieve a flawless, natural look.
They can either be designed by a qualified ceramist in a dental laboratory, or bonded to your teeth chairside in the surgery by your dentist.
Composite veneers made in a dental laboratory will look like thin, tooth-coloured shells that are attached to the front and biting surfaces of your teeth.
Composite veneers applied in the dental surgery involve layers of composite material being applied to the tooth, sculpted, shaped, light cured and polished until the desired result is achieved.
Veneers can be used to treat a single tooth, or alternatively to transform your entire smile.
Dental veneers are an effective cosmetic option to enhance the appearance of chipped, stained, miscoloured or misshapen teeth. Veneers can change your tooth colour, shape, size or length. They can be made larger or smaller than the original tooth if a different appearance is desired.
Veneers can permanently lighten the colour of your teeth. For patients who desire whiter teeth, teeth whitening can be performed before the creation of your veneers so they can be matched to the lighter shade.
What are veneers used for?
Veneers can be a cosmetic solution to:
- Close gaps between teeth.
- Restore chipped or cracked teeth.
- Lighten stained or discoloured teeth.
- Straighten crooked or irregularly shaped teeth.
- Build up, and restore length to, worn-down teeth.
How composite veneers can be used to close gaps between teeth:
Composite versus ceramic veneers
The highest strength and best quality veneers are made from ceramic material. However, composite veneers are less expensive than ceramic veneers.
Some things to be mindful about composite veneers are:
- They typically do not last as long as ceramic veneers.
- They are less durable than ceramic veneers and are more prone to chips and cracks.
- They are not colour stable and may stain.
- They do not have any natural translucent properties, and do not catch light like natural enamel or porcelain.
- They may lose their lustre with time and require polishing.
However, if composite veneers do chip they are relatively easy to repair as generally new composite can be bonded to the existing veneer and provide a seamless finish (rather than having to replace the veneer).
Not all composite material is the same.
At VC Dental, we use a high-quality composite material for dental veneers called Ceram.X Spectra ST, which is the latest innovation in universal hybrid composites1.
- Uniquely constructed to achieve optimal balance of optical properties.
- Adapts easily to tooth surfaces.
- Precise to sculpt and shape.
- Enhanced shade matching and blending ability.
- Polishes to an excellent lustre (shine).
- Longevity: high stain resistance and proven durability.
- Naturally aesthetic results.
How are composite veneers applied?
Composite veneers can be built up directly onto the tooth surface in the dental surgery, or sent to a dental laboratory to be manufactured.
Composite veneers procedure
We will firstly provide a comprehensive assessment of your teeth, and have a detailed discussion with you about your desired outcome including colour, shape, size and proportions of the teeth.
In-surgery composite veneers:
In-surgery composite veneers can generally be completed in the one appointment.
Firstly your dentist will select a composite resin colour that matches the natural shade of your teeth, or your desired shade of white.
The tooth (or teeth) will then be prepared by slightly abrading or etching (roughening) the surface. A conditioning liquid will then be applied, which helps the bonding material adhere to the tooth.
After the tooth is prepared, composite material will be applied to the tooth surface one layer at a time. Each layer is carefully handcrafted, shaped and smoothed, and then cured (hardened) with an ultraviolet light.
Once the composite material hardens, the teeth are further contoured and shaped. The surface will then be polished to give the veneer a natural look that blends in with the rest of your teeth. Your bite will also be checked and adjusted to ensure they are comfortable.
Dental laboratory composite veneers:
Composite veneers may also be made in a dental laboratory, and then cemented onto the teeth.
This method can require a small amount of tooth enamel to firstly be removed from the outer surface and biting edge of the tooth (or teeth). This is minimally invasive and is done to provide a precise fit and natural, aesthetic result.
This procedure is generally completed over two appointments:
Once the tooth surface is prepared, impressions will then be taken of the teeth. This provides an exact mould for your veneers to be designed from.
Your impressions will be sent to a dental laboratory where a qualified dental ceramist will manufacture your veneers out of composite material. These veneers are carefully hand crafted to provide a custom result for each tooth.
In the meantime, you will be provided with temporary veneers custom-made out of composite (plastic resin) material in the dental surgery. They will be matched to your natural tooth colour. The temporary veneers will protect the natural teeth, as well as restore the aesthetic appearance of your smile, until your laboratory-made composite veneers are ready.
The laboratory will generally take one to two weeks to create the composite veneers and return them to our surgery.
At your second visit, the temporary veneers will be removed and the final composite veneers will be checked for shape, size, colour and fit. Once confirmed, they will be permanently cemented onto your natural teeth.
- Fact File: Spectra ST Universal Composite Restorative (https://assets.dentsplysirona.com/flagship/en/explore/restorative/ceram-x-spectra-st-family/RES-CeramxSpectraST-Portfolio-Fact-File.pdf)
- Dentsply Sirona: Efficient Esthetics with TPH Spectra® ST composites (https://www.dentsplysirona.com/en-us/categories/restorative/tph-spectra-st-family.html)
- Dentsply Sirona: 2019 Restorative Focus Product Catalog (https://www.dentsplysirona.com/en/explore/restorative.html)