A composite veneer is a thin coating added to the front of your tooth to improve its appearance. We add the resin coating to your tooth in layers – each layer is hardened with a dental light before the next layer is placed.
The techniques used to properly handcraft this layering makes all the difference to the realism of your result. You see, teeth are not a uniform colour, so it takes skill, planning and artistic ability to match a veneer to surrounding teeth closely. They may be one of the hardest things for a cosmetic dentist to excel.
Composite veneers are an alternative to porcelain veneers. They are cheaper, quicker (one visit) and less invasive than porcelain veneers.
Like porcelain veneers, they can dramatically improve a crooked, stained, worn or gappy smile.
A composite veneer can fix…
In most instances, orthodontic straightening is the most ideal treatment to correct crooked teeth. However, many people do not wish to go through this process, and this is where veneers excel. They are particularly useful if your teeth are also misshapen or dark in colour.
Worn teeth result in a departure from a youthful appearance. In a youthful smile, the teeth are all more rounded and their edges do not form a completely straight line.
Over time, acidic erosion or harsh tooth brushing habits can lead to the loss of the shiny white enamel on the outer surface of your teeth. This will result in your teeth being dull in lustre and darkened in colour. Composite veneers will return the natural beauty to these teeth and should protect them from further structural loss.
Gaps between your teeth cannot always able to be corrected with orthodontics as sometimes your teeth are just formed to be smaller than the space available in your jaw. Composite veneers offer a quick cost-effective solution to fill such gaps.
Heavily discoloured teeth
Some teeth are resistant to bleaching and the only way to fix the problem is to cover over the darkened surfaces. Sometimes, the discolouration is so dark that a thin composite veneer will not completely mask out the underlying colour. A crown may be the only solution in this instance.
Digital Smile Design (DSD)
The digital smile design process ensures you get beautiful and predictable results
One of the difficulties of designing a new smile has been in communication. The challenge is to determine what it is about your smile that you don’t like, what you actually want for your smile and then to deliver this vision by placing resin directly onto the tooth surface. The final product must be in harmony with your face and personality.
The DSD protocol takes all the guesswork out of the process.
The standout parts of this process are:
Smile Guide Touch Pro.
This easy to use software package is an animated smile guide that helps show you what your smile could look like. It allows easy visualization of various shapes of the edge of teeth as well as different smile line contours. You will readily see the difference that different lengths and shapes of teeth will make.
With high-resolution photos and video taken in our Digital Image Studio, we can create for you a realistic digital simulation of what your perfect smile would look like in your mouth. This can be previewed on the screen in a detailed consultation with us and you can provide input to further refine the design.
3-D Production Guide.
The digitally planned smile can be transferred in wax onto a solid plaster model of your mouth. This is then used to produce various 3-D guides that act as our blueprints when placing and sculpting the resin directly onto your teeth. You get a beautiful and predictable result.
The composite veneer process
Identify your concerns.
Discover what it will take to achieve YOUR ideal smile.
Take photos and a mould of your teeth to design your new smile.
Review our proposed design with you and if needed, refine the digital mock-up and any 3-D modelling.
Directly place and cure resin onto your teeth according to the blueprint provided by the digital smile design process.
Refine, shape and polish your beautiful new smile.
What do composite veneers cost?
With planning and the use of teeth whitening, you may not even need a veneer over the whole tooth surface of every tooth. We may be able to get a great result using composite bonding on some teeth. Composite bonding starts at $220 per tooth, and the cost will range up to $620 for a full veneer.
Are you happy for us to show others images of your great results? If so, you could be eligible for considerable discounts on price! Contact us to find out more.
There may be some additional costs incurred before composite veneer preparation can begin. These will be discussed with you before being carried out and may include:
If there is any hint of previous nerve damage or a previous Root Canal Treatment (RCT), it would be prudent to check that there is no underlying persisting infection. Such an infection is often present in the absence of pain.
3-D Production Guide.
If you chose to go beyond the Digital mock-up stage of treatment, your models might have wax added to them determined by your digital smile design prescription. We commonly use a ‘wax-up’ for more complex cases, and it incurs a cost of $65 per tooth. If you proceed with the veneers, we deduct this fee from the final price of your veneers.
How many teeth should I veneer?
Generally, you should consider placing composite veneers on the teeth you want visible in your smile. The number of teeth visible is different for every person and depends a lot on the broadness of your upper jaw.
Placing veneers on only the front six teeth will often lead to a narrow looking smile where the front six teeth appear to sit forward while the others behind them tend to disappear a little in the smile.
The current trend is to consider veneering the front eight teeth and sometimes even the front ten. This will lead to a broader looking smile.
How long do composite veneers last?
Most composite veneers will last from 6 to 8 years. However, they can last considerably less than this if trauma or decay is involved.
The composite resin itself is quite strong and stable, but the tooth structure it is attached to, and the gum and bone structures that attach to it are alive. As such they can become diseased or damaged – the reason for early failure is not commonly because of composite resin failure.
Are Composite Veneers as good as Porcelain Veneers?
Composite veneers are cheaper and quicker to place than porcelain veneers. However, they cannot compare in two key ways:
- Natural beauty.
Composite resin materials and techniques have improved immensely in recent times but they cannot yet match highly polished and glazed porcelain for beauty. Added to this is the fact that more control of the final result can be obtained when working on veneer on a plaster model on a benchtop, compared with placing and curing resin directly on to a tooth surface.
The surface of resin can only be highly polished and will wear with time. It will therefore take on a more matt appearance after a year or two (depending on your dietary and maintenance habits). The material will also become more porous with time and therefore will tend to stain. Porcelain on the other hand is glazed and will never change colour and is extremely resistant to wear.
Finally, the resin material is not as strong as porcelain.
How much of my tooth will be removed?
Composite veneers typically have very minimal or no tooth structure removed before they are placed. Resin fillings that are currently in place in the tooth are removed and incorporated into the veneer restoration as you cannot readily or reliably bond newer resin to older resin.
Will my veneers stain over time?
Composite veneers will tend to stain – the rate which this will happen will depend upon your dietary and hygiene habits. Initialy this will be able to be polished off by us, but an increase in porosity over time of all resins means the stain will penetrate the material over time.
What are the risks of composite veneers?
If correctly planned and executed the risks are actually very minimal.
Some people have excessively heavy bites, particularly related to grinding while asleep. Composite veneers may be more prone to fracture under these circumstances, However, we can protect against this by providing you a guard to wear while asleep. Porcelain crowns may be a better option in such circumstances.
If my upper teeth are treated, will they match the lowers?
Most people don’t show the lower teeth as much as they do the upper teeth. Therefore, most composite veneers are placed on the upper teeth.
If you do show your lower teeth in your smile, the option to place composite veneers here can be discussed – particularly if they are also crooked. However, most people will simply whiten their lower teeth to match the uppers.
We often encourage teeth whitening to be done before the veneers are placed, so we can match to an actual final whitening result. The simultaneous whitening of the upper teeth would provide colour lightening here and allow for thinner, more conservative veneers to be placed.
Will there be pain after treatment?
Pain should be minimal after composite veneer treatment.
The preparation and bonding process requires strict control over the surrounding gum tissue. They are lightly pushed out of the way during the procedure, and some people can have mild discomfort in this area for a day or two after treatment.
Rarely, the bite can be left a little too heavy on a tooth after bonding leading to slight tenderness in that tooth. Again, this will be easily and quickly resolved with a quick bite adjustment as required.
Are composite veneers more readily repaired than porcelain veneers?
Some claim that one advantage of resin veneers over porcelain is that if they do actually fracture, they can be readily added to with more resin. This is actually the case within the first seven weeks of placement only. After seven weeks, composite resin becomes fairly inert and as such is difficult to add to repair. Both porcelain and resin can be repaired using various materials and techniques, but these have unpredictably variable success rates.
Maintenance of composite veneers
Maintenance of Composite veneers is relatively straight forward. When produced to be accurately fitting and bonded correctly, the junction between the tooth and veneer should be imperceptible. Therefore, home maintenance should be similar to any other teeth:
- Use only a soft bristled toothbrush with regular fluoride toothpaste. Be sure that the paste is not too coarse or abrasive – it should feel smooth between your fingertips.
- Floss between your veneers daily, carefully passing the floss all the way up to where the tooth joins the gums.
- If your bite feels slightly heavy on any of your new veneers, please advise us straight away.
- Do not bite on anything hard and brittle. A good rule of thumb is to avoid chewing anything that you should not chew with your natural teeth. (i.e. bones, ice, fingernails, olive pits, and popcorn kernels.)
- If you grind or clench your teeth while sleeping we recommend you wear a night guard to minimise the stresses on all of your teeth. Be wary of placing high stresses on your teeth during strenuous exercise.
About one to two weeks after your composite veneers are permanently bonded, we would like to see you return to our practice to carefully evaluate the treatment. The gum response will be assessed and we can follow up on any questions you may have.
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