Like all veneers, composite resin veneers are used to improve the overall appearance of teeth by changing the shape and colour of individual teeth. While porcelain veneers are used to be transformative to a person’s overall smile, composites can also be used to fix minor issues such as chipped or cracked teeth.
While other types of veneer can require multiple visits to the dentist and usually involve some drilling or reshaping of existing teeth, composites usually require little to no tooth reduction during the treatment process. The composite material is usually applied to the outer surface of the tooth and moulded in to shape by the dentist, making it a fairly quick but effective treatment.
Not every cosmetic dentist will offer composite resin veneers, as it requires a great deal of technical skill to apply and shape the composite effectively. It’s essentially a combination of science and art, so if the dentist is not confident in their ability to shape the materials they may not offer the treatment. Every smile is different, and it can take many years of experience to craft the materials into the ideal look and feel required from veneers.
What Are Composite Resin Veneers Used For?
Composite veneers are used to treat multiple cosmetic dental issues, including things like stained teeth, crooked teeth, fixing chipped or cracked teeth or to fill in gaps between existing teeth.
While more severe tooth alignment issues may need orthodontic treatments like braces or Invisalign, these treatments are often paired with composite veneers and other cosmetic treatments to help complete the perfect smile.
Staining is a common issue which is resolved by using composites. If the patient cannot be effectively treated with a dental clean and normal teeth whitening, composites may be used to help restore the teeth to a natural whiteness.
Fixing cracks or chips is one of the most common uses for composite, and it’s the ideal way of fixing minor damage like acidic erosion or accidental chips. It’s a non-invasive and highly affordable way of repairing the damage without extensive dental work.
The treatment is also regularly used to help close small gaps between a person’s front teeth. If there are severe alignment issues then orthodontic treatment may be recommended, but composite veneers can work as an alternative to orthodontics or porcelain veneers.
How Long Do Composite Veneers Last?
There are multiple aspects which can effect the length of time composites will last, including:
- How well the patient looks after their teeth
- The type of composite used
- The dietary habits of the patient
Incorporating these factors, the average time they will last is between 3 and 5 years. It’s a lot less than you would get from porcelain veneers, however any repairs or replacements are generally far less expensive and invasive.
The Composite Resin Veneers Procedure
An initial consultation will usually be required to determine if the patient is a suitable candidate for the treatment. This will include the resolution of many outstanding dental issues and ensuring the patient doesn’t have any active inflammation or gum disease.
The dentist will then discuss the type of composite to be used and the final desired colour of teeth. If the patient is looking for whiter teeth then a dental clean and teeth whitening will generally be carried out before the veneers. This will allow the dentist to better colour match the veneer to the whiter teeth. If the patient opts for this approach, the teeth whitening process may need to be carried out on a semi-regular basis to maintain the look.
The teeth which are being treated will be dried using a dam and isolated to ensure there is no moisture which can interfere with the application of the bonding material. The dentist will use acid to slightly roughen the surface of the tooth, which allows the resin to stick to the surface of the tooth more effectively.
The dentist will then apply the glue to the prepared teeth, before gradually adding the composite material in multiple layers to the teeth. This process will continue until the dentist is satisfied with the look and shape of the veneer, before the material is polished to complete the treatment.
While composite veneers don’t tend to last as long as porcelain and don’t have quite the same transformative impact, they can be a great way of transforming a smile for far less of an investment. It’s the best way of fixing minor cosmetic damage to teeth, and can be used to fix a wide range off dental issues.