Composite Veneers: Pros, Cons and Features of the Procedure


Composite veneers, thin photopolymer overlays, are a popular restoration method in dental aesthetics. These thin plates (up to 0.3 mm) are attached with special cement to a slightly turned front surface of the tooth. In most cases, composite veneers are placed for aesthetic reasons and as a temporary solution. With their help, dentists can change the shape and color of teeth, easily creating the most aesthetic result.

Often resin veneers are placed on the smile area (front teeth). It helps to cope with such defects as:

  • changed enamel color;
  • uneven teeth;
  • teeth with an anomaly of development;
  • cracks and chips;
  • carious teeth.

This type of aesthetic treatment is suitable for almost everyone, however, it has some contraindications: bruxism, thin enamel, severe tooth decay, and misaligned teeth.

How are Composite Veneers Made?

The basis of all composite overlays is an organic polymer, which gives strength and ease of modeling, as well as acrylic and epoxy resins, which reduce the degree of compression of the material. In addition, manufacturers may add other components to provide greater wear resistance and durability. Depending on the specific needs of the patient and the characteristics of their teeth, dentists can choose various types of materials. Composite onlays are made in two main ways: direct and indirect.

Direct composite veneers are installed in the patient's mouth immediately during a visit to the dental clinic. The procedure is quite simple and can be done in just one visit. This allows you to significantly save time spent in the dental chair. Before installing the veneer, the dentist removes a small layer of enamel for better adhesion to the composite material. In some cases, tooth grinding is not necessary. The main advantages of the direct type of restoration are a quick result and a gentle method of installing veneers.

The advantage of indirect composite veneers is that more serious defects can be hidden. This installation takes place in two stages. During the patient's first visit, the dentist cleans the surface of the tooth and takes an impression. After that, he sends this to a laboratory where a dental technician fabricates a custom veneer. The finished composite overlay is installed during the patient's return visit. Thanks to the individual approach and polymerization in the laboratory, dental inlays have a higher strength and can be used to solve more complex cosmetic defects.

How are Composite Veneers Put On?

To get a guaranteed high-quality result, it is always important to adhere to certain rules and stages. Installing composite dental veneers is no exception. Despite the relative simplicity of the veneering, it’s necessary to approach this method of micro-prosthetics with responsibility. First of all, the patient must choose a specialist who is highly qualified and has the necessary skills.

The process of installing composite veneers consists of several stages. Before starting any procedure, a preliminary consultation is held. This is required for the dentist to discuss with the patient the shape and color of future composite veneers, and which teeth would be processed. In addition, the patient must be informed about all the stages and nuances of veneer.

Then the specialist examines the oral cavity for the presence of inflammatory processes, damaged or carious tissues. If the condition of the enamel or gums has serious pathologies, the installation of veneers is postponed for the period of treatment. The dentist also evaluates the condition of the teeth on which the laminated veneers will be installed. Sometimes enamel grinding is minimal or not needed at all. If there is severe sensitivity, anesthesia may be used at this stage.

Depending on the chosen veneer method (direct or indirect), the dentist either takes an impression to make an individual model or immediately proceeds to create a veneer. This requires a high level of craftsmanship, as the overlay is shaped by hand and cured with a special lamp. In the case of an indirect installation method, the dentist receives the finished composite resin veneers from the dental laboratory and installs them during the second visit of the patient. Such overlays are of higher quality due to the individual approach.

At the end of the procedure, the dentist polishes the veneers to give them a natural shine and smoothness. It is also important to provide the necessary post-procedure care instructions. These may include: avoiding hard and sticky foods for the first 24 hours; using a soft toothbrush; reducing the amount of coloring foods and drinks in the diet; timely preventive visits.

How Long Do Composite Veneers Last?

The service life of composite bonding veneers lasts about 4-5 years. Of course, such dental onlays can be repaired if necessary. It is worth knowing that composite materials are very fragile. Therefore, ignoring the instructions of the dentist and neglecting proper care will affect the condition of the veneer. In this case, the dental onlay can easily break off. In addition, over time, it fades and changes its color due to pigments contained in food and drinks. Simply put, the shelf life of composite veneers is determined by their appearance - as soon as they lose their aesthetics, they should be replaced.

Advantages of Composite Veneers

Restoration of teeth with composite onlays is one of the most popular procedures. Dentists and patients choose this method of micro—prosthetics, as it can correct several defects: restore the original color of the enamel, hide wide gaps and chips, and also change the abnormal shape or displacement of the front teeth. Also, the dentist can easily choose a shade that will be in harmony with the color of natural enamel.

Composite veneers are fast and easy to install: often just one visit to the dentist is enough to give the smile a perfect appeal. They also require minimal treatment of healthy teeth, making the procedure less invasive than other restoration methods. If there is a slight curvature in the dental arch and there is no time for orthodontic treatment, it is possible to align the arch with composite onlays.

Among other advantages of composite veneers, it can be noted that they are very easy to maintain and correct – if the lining is broken, then it is easy to fix. They have a lower cost compared to other restoration methods, and, if desired, composite veneers can always be replaced with a ceramic counterpart.

Disadvantages of Composite Veneers

Despite the positive aspects of composite overlays, there are still cons that can be decisive when choosing a veneer method.

Firstly, must be considered that composite veneers do not have the same strength as ceramic ones. The material is quite brittle and can break under intense impact. Secondly, such veneers are not aesthetically ideal and look less natural, especially on the front teeth. This type of veneer requires polishing every 3-4 months to maintain its shine and color.

One of the disadvantages of composite veneers is the high absorption of dyes from food and drinks and, as a result, a change in their color. The use of wine, strong tea, coffee, and spices, as well as smoking, can significantly reduce the life of veneers.

It should also be taken into account that in such composite micro-prostheses, chips in the material are often found – this leads either to correction or replacement. This is due to careless use. With prolonged use of direct composite onlays, high abrasion along the cutting edge of the incisors can be observed.

Caring for veneers is very important to keep them in perfect condition for a long time. Maintain proper oral hygiene, brush your teeth regularly, and use dental floss. It is also necessary to avoid harsh and sticky products that may destroy the veneers or make them come off. It is worth noting that regular visits to the dentist are necessary to undergo preventive examinations and professional teeth cleaning on time.