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What’s the Difference Between Composite and Porcelain Veneers?

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Veneers sitting on a blue table with a dental mold behind them in the background.

What are the Differences Between Composite and Porcelain Veneers?

Dental veneers are thin shells, the colour of teeth, which attach to the front surface of teeth to improve the appearance of your teeth and, ultimately, your smile. Cosmetic dentistry uses veneers as the perfect way to solve imperfections, chips, discoloration, broken teeth, or small teeth. 

Marks Dentistry can help take care of all your dental needs. And if that means looking for a whiter smile with uniform teeth, then dental veneers are a solution we can explore together. Dental veneers are not for everyone, though and may not benefit people who grind their teeth or clench them at night. 

We discuss the types of veneers: composite and porcelain, and the differences between them. So you have all the information needed to decide which one works best for your needs. 

What Are Composite Veneers

Composite veneers, made from resin, are the same material used for teeth bonding. They are colour matched to your teeth, are usually minimally invasive, and can last a long time. 

There are 2 types of composite veneers: direct and indirect. The material used is the same in both, only the application is different. 

  1. Direct Composite Veneers

Also called composite bonding, these veneers are shaped, sculpted, and applied directly to the teeth. There is usually minimal preparation of teeth, thus sometimes reversible, and you don’t have to wait for or wear temporary veneers. 

A high-intensity light hardens and cures the resin, with the ability to add additional layers if necessary to achieve the desired outcome. The resin is then polished to give a natural appearance. 

  1. Indirect Composite Veneers

These veneers, made in an off-site dental laboratory, are applied after teeth preparation with adhesive. Teeth prep is the same as for direct composite veneers with little to no removal of the tooth structure. 

What Are Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers, made from porcelain, are a stronger material than resin and have a translucent quality, much like the enamel on your teeth. These are custom-made in the lab. 

Porcelain veneers involve more tooth preparation, such as removing some enamel without damaging the tooth underneath. It ensures the veneers fit comfortably over the natural tooth. 

A dental technician measures veneers that have been attached to a dental cast.

The Difference Between Composite and Porcelain Veneers

Dental veneers are an easy fix to improving your smile and keeping it that way for many years to come. The hardest part about dental veneers is knowing which option to choose. Taking a closer look at the difference between composite and porcelain can help make that decision easier. 


Both composite and porcelain veneers fall under cosmetic dentistry and, therefore, may not be covered by insurance. Composite veneers come at a lower cost.

Porcelain veneers cost more because they require more expertise for application and resources to make. If porcelain veneers do break, there is no repairing, only replacing. 


Composite veneers are not as strong. They may chip, need repair, or replacement more often than porcelain veneers. Ideally, they can last between 5 to 7 years

Porcelain veneers are of a stronger material and are less prone to chipping. Ideally, they can last at least 10 years, sometimes as long as 20 years. 

Preparation Time

Composite veneers have a shorter application process as they are applied directly if using direct veneers. You can walk in and walk out the same day with a beautiful smile. 

Porcelain veneers can take 3 or more visits to your dentist. Visits may include an evaluation and treatment plan, teeth preparation, and veneer bonding. 

Aesthetic Appeal

Composite veneers can conceal many teeth issues, such as irregular teeth, and it can be a reversible procedure. They, however, can stain over time as your natural enamel would. 

Porcelain veneers are great because they resist staining and discoloration. They also shine and mimic the look of natural teeth. 

The Right Solution for You

Do imperfect, discoloured, chipped, or broken teeth keep you from smiling? Then, veneers may be the solution for you. The great thing about veneers is that you can get one or many to create the smile of your dreams. 
Marks Dentistry knows that a happy and healthy smile is the key to overall well-being. If you would like to learn more or get a recommendation, book an appointment with our Etobicoke dentist today to get a customized treatment plan that suits your budget, timeline, and aesthetic goals.

Written by Dr. Jonah Marks

Dr. Jonah Marks received his Doctor of Dental Surgery from the Schulich School of Dentistry at the University of Western Ontario. During his time at Schulich, Dr. Marks volunteered at Schulich’s Dental Outreach Community Services, providing pro bono dental treatment to underprivileged patients in London, Ontario. He currently provides pro bono work for LAMP Community Health Care Centre and the Alpha Omega Dental Volunteer Program. In addition, Dr. Marks travelled to Nicaragua where he provided dental care in underserved communities.

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