For decades, porcelain veneers have been used to dramatically transform smiles and achieve incredibly lifelike results. With recent advancements in the field of cosmetic dentistry, the applications, materials, and techniques used to place veneers have also grown. When choosing between different types of porcelain veneers, your dentist will evaluate your oral health, aesthetic concerns, and treatment goals to find a style and brand that fits your needs.
Types of Traditional Veneers
Traditional porcelain veneers are often created in an off-site laboratory after your dentist has taken detailed impressions of your smile. At the lab, a skilled ceramist will carefully fabricate the veneers to closely mirror the look and feel of your natural teeth. In order to place these veneers, your dentist will need to remove a small amount of enamel from each treated tooth. Traditional veneers can be constructed using a variety of materials.
In order to craft these veneers, a lab ceramist will layer porcelain by hand to create a restoration that closely matches the shape, color, and translucency of your natural teeth. Stacked ceramic veneers offer superior aesthetics and customization but are not as durable as pressed veneers.
Pressed ceramic veneers are typically easier to manufacture and thicker than other types of veneers, making them a strong and durable option. However, due to their thickness, they require a more substantial alteration of the tooth’s structure.
This material is often recommended for patients who are prone to teeth grinding, also known as bruxers. Lithium disilicate veneers are very strong and are created using computer-aided-design and computer-aided-manufacturing (CAD/CAM) technology.
Similar to lithium disilicate, zirconia-based veneers are stronger than other ceramic veneers and can help strengthen a structurally weak tooth. These restorations are made from the same materials used to create dental crowns and are highly resistant to fracture. The opaque quality of zirconia can also help hide any damage to the underlying tooth structure.
With recent advancements in the field of cosmetic dentistry, the materials, preparation, and techniques used to place veneers have also grown.
While traditional options offer extremely lifelike results and can even help strengthen your teeth, they require enamel removal and are a lifetime commitment. Once these veneers are placed, they will need to be maintained and replaced approximately every ten years to ensure proper function and aesthetics.
Another factor to consider when choosing which type of veneer is right for you is the manufacturer. Popular choices include:
- daVinci™: With over 30 years of experience in the industry, daVinci remains one of the most trusted porcelain veneer brands.
- IPS Empress®: Empress veneers can be precisely customized to match the color of your smile. The company offers 12 different shades to help you achieve the most natural-looking results.
- IPS e.max®: If you choose lithium disilicate, your veneers will likely be made by this manufacturer. This brand boasts an extremely high success rate thanks to the material’s strength.
Cosmetic dentists are familiar with the advantages and disadvantages of each available brand and can guide you in making an informed decision.
Depending on the extent of your cosmetic concerns, you may be a good candidate for minimal-prep veneers. Often called no-prep veneers, these restorations are much thinner than traditional veneers and do not require extensive enamel removal. They are often a good option for patients who are considering porcelain veneers but want a more conservative treatment. Commonly used brands of minimal-prep veneers include LUMINEERS®, Vivaneers™, and DURAthin®.
Similar to traditional veneers, these restorations are created at an offsite lab and usually require two appointments for placement. If you are unsure about porcelain veneers, these may be advisable because treatment is often reversible. However, depending on the current condition of your teeth, traditional veneers may be a better option for you. Due to their thinness, minimal-prep veneers do not provide the same dramatic coverage offered by other types of veneers.
Many dentists also offer same-day veneer options to conveniently address minor cosmetic imperfections. These chairside veneers can be designed and manufactured in one appointment and are often a good option for concealing damage to a single tooth.
Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics, or CEREC, is a CAD/CAM unit utilized by many dentists to create same-day restorations. CEREC is equipped with digital imaging software and a milling unit which can convert your scans into custom porcelain restorations. This allows dentists to place extremely durable veneers on the same day as your appointment, saving you time and money on laboratory services. Although these veneers are very convenient, some patients find the results are not as natural-looking as available alternatives.
Composite resin is the same material used to place tooth-colored fillings after cavities have been treated. Also known as dental bonding, this option can provide cost-effective coverage for issues such as cracks, discoloration, and chips. Your dentist will carefully match the resin to the color of your surrounding teeth, apply it to the surface of the tooth in layers, then carefully shape and polish the material. Composite veneers are not nearly as lifelike as porcelain and are prone to staining over time, but can provide impressive results in one visit.
Reaching a Decision
If you are unsure about which type to choose, selecting a reversible option, such as composite veneers, may be advisable. This can often help patients form a better idea of their desired results and make any necessary modifications. Then you can make a more permanent commitment to traditional veneers, which offer dramatic, long-lasting benefits. Maintaining realistic expectations and an open and honest conversation with your dentist will help ensure you achieve the very best outcome.