Porcelain veneers have several advantages compared to composite resin including:
- Porcelain veneers are very durable. Although porcelain veneers are very thin, usually between 0.5 – 0.7 millimeters and inherently brittle, once bonded to healthy tooth structure it becomes very strong. Porcelain veneers can last for many years, usually 10-15 years, if you take good care of them using good oral hygiene and avoiding using them to crack or chew hard objects like ice.
- Porcelain veneers create a very life-like and natural tooth appearance. The translucent properties of the porcelain allows the veneers to mimic the light handling characteristics of enamel giving it a sense of depth which is not possible with other cosmetic bonding materials such as composite resin.
- Porcelain veneers resist staining. Unlike other cosmetic dental bonding materials, porcelain is a smooth, impervious ceramic and therefore will not pick up permanent stain from cigarette smoking or from dark or richly colored liquids or spices.
- Porcelain veneers are conservative. Only a small amount of tooth structure is removed, if any during the procedure.
The major disadvantages of porcelain veneers over composite resin include the following:
- Porcelain veneers are not made at chairside. Porcelain veneers are fabricated in a dental laboratory and therefore require at least two visits. Composite resin veneers are accomplished in one visit. An adequate amount of tooth structure is removed to allow for placement of composite resin in the desired shape without added tooth bulk. Bonding agent is applied. Composite resin is then added, light cured, then finished and polished.
- Porcelain veneers are more expensive than composite veneers. The placement of veneers requires more time, expertise and resources in order to fabricate and bond and therefore cost more.
- Porcelain veneers cannot be repaired. If they break porcelain veneers must be replaced.