Porcelain Veneers vs. Composite Veneers: What’s the Difference?

Closeup of a woman's teeth while smiling with porcelain veneers

Veneers are a great solution for patients looking to improve the esthetics of their smiles. This cosmetic dentistry treatment can give your confidence a huge boost.

There are different types of dental veneer materials, with different pros and cons. In this article, we’re going to compare two of the most popular—porcelain and composite.

Join us as we explore their respective qualities so that you can choose the best veneers for you.

Porcelain vs. Composite – What Do These Terms Mean?

The dental porcelain used to make veneers is a very strong form of ceramic. They are wafer-thin and contain materials that mimic the natural translucence of enamel and dentin. They are biocompatible, meaning that they do not cause allergic reactions in the body.

Composite veneers are also extremely thin but are made of resin. This may be placed and sculpted in the dentist’s office or made out of the office at a lab. Like porcelain veneers, they aim to mimic the appearance of natural teeth and are well tolerated by the body.

How Strong Are They?

The human jaw is extremely powerful. Although we put more pressure on our back teeth, we also exert up to 83 pounds of pressure with our front teeth. This means that veneers need to be strong enough to resist years of pressure.

When Dr. Rinaldi places porcelain veneers onto teeth, they create a super-strong bond. They join together to form a material that is as strong as your natural teeth.

The composite resin is strong, but not as strong as porcelain. While it holds up for a while, over time it is more likely to chip or crack. That means that you are more likely to need repairs.

Verdict: Porcelain veneers win the strength battle.

How Long Do They Last?

Whatever material you choose, practicing good oral hygiene is essential. This will help to keep them in good condition for as long as possible.

With good care, porcelain veneers should last between 10-15 years before they need replacing.

On the other hand, we only expect composite veneers to last for between 5-7 years.

Verdict: Porcelain veneers win again, with much better life expectancy.

How Natural Are the Colors?

Patients choose veneers because they want to have a beautiful, natural-looking smile. Natural teeth are translucent, meaning that they partially reflect the light. Veneers replicate this effect.

Porcelain is renowned as the most natural-looking material. That’s because it is translucent, and it can be matched very accurately to the shade of your natural teeth. This means that rather than standing out, the porcelain blends in and enhances your smile.

Composite veneers also mimic the natural translucency of teeth but not as effectively as porcelain. Your dentist will try to match the color of the resin to your natural teeth.

Verdict: Both materials can color match well, but the translucency of porcelain makes it look more natural.

How Stain Resistant Are They?

Porcelain veneers are made out of a stain-resistant material. In fact, they are more stain-resistant than natural teeth. It is very unlikely that they will stain over time.

Composite veneers are resistant to staining, but not as well as porcelain or even your natural teeth. They are more likely to stain over time if you drink dark liquids like tea, coffee, and red wine. Smoking can also stain composite veneers.

If you notice over time that your veneers and natural teeth do not match color well, this may be because your natural teeth are becoming discolored. It’s also possible that your veneers simply need a professional clean. Talk to Dr. Rinaldi about whitening your teeth so they blend well.

Verdict: Porcelain wins the stain-resistance test.

How Much Do They Cost?

Porcelain veneers cost between $2,000-$2,500 per tooth. This means that a full set would cost in the region of $30,000.

Composite veneers are a cheaper option, and this is why many people choose them. On average, composites cost $1000-$1,500 per tooth.

However, when deciding which is a better value, the initial cost is only part of the equation. Porcelain outperforms composite in every area. This includes strength, durability, natural look, and stain resistance.

Although the up-front cost is greater, porcelain lasts at least twice as long as composite veneers. During that time, you will be able to enjoy the other benefits that come from porcelain veneers.

Verdict: On initial cost alone, composite wins. On lifetime value, porcelain is the winner.

Who’s a Candidate?

Placing veneers can be both a cosmetic and a restorative dental procedure. If your teeth are in good condition and you would like to improve their esthetics, veneers are a great option.

They can give your smile a more even appearance. They can close up gaps between teeth, and sort out issues with crowding and discoloration.

If you have broken or misaligned teeth, veneers may also be a good option. Depending on the condition of your teeth, you may need a crown to provide the tooth with extra protection. Dr. Rinaldi and his team would be happy to advise on the most suitable choice for your smile.

Dr. Rinaldi – One of the Best Cosmetic Dentists In Washington, D.C., Area

When comparing porcelain and composite veneers, there is a clear winner. Porcelain lasts longer, is much stronger, and looks more natural. It’s clear why Dr. Rinaldi and Rinaldi Dental Arts in Chevy Chase near Washington, D.C., only use porcelain for renowned smile makeovers.

Are you ready to get your porcelain veneers? Dr. Rinaldi is one of the best cosmetic dentists in the D.C. area. He has placed over 30,000 porcelain veneers and created stunning smiles for many well-known faces.

We warmly invite you to schedule an appointment with Dr. Rinaldi and his team. We’ll be with you every step of the way as they help you achieve the perfect smile.

Click here to schedule your appointment today.