Composite Veneers

Hello Dr. Hall:

Is it possible to get porcelain veneers removed and to have these teeth restructured with composite veneers because I believe I am in the minority who feel that prefers composite resin bonding over porcelain. Thanks again.

—Kabir from California

Yes, it’s possible to remove the porcelain and have composite veneers. But there aren’t many cosmetic dentists who do full composite veneers any more. They are very labor intensive and they have poor patient satisfaction because, unless the patient takes excellent care of the bonding work, they break down and attract stains after only a year or two. I got to where I refused to do them because of that short lifespan–I just didn’t want my patients coming back in one or two years unhappy with my work. And that’s what happened–they were happy when they left the office but unhappy in a year or two.

I’m guessing that maybe your porcelain veneers weren’t done by an expert cosmetic dentist. Otherwise I would think you would be happy with them. I can’t think of any advantage of composite veneers over porcelain, when you’re doing a complete smile.

Anyway, if you are in Orange, California and that is what you want to do, you may be able to find an expert cosmetic dentist who will do a complete smile in composite. But go to an expert. They are very difficult to do well.

It is required for AACD accreditation that a dentist do a set of at least six direct composite veneers. A lot of accreditation candidates complain about having to do that, because in real practice almost nobody does that any more. But it is a great way to separate the true artists from the pretenders. When I did my accreditation, what I did was get a patient who needed porcelain veneers and I let her apply the price of the composite veneers to the porcelain I later did over them, so that she wouldn’t overextend their life span. But these days, cosmetic dentists may charge as much or more for the composite as they do for the porcelain, since they are so difficult.

—-Dr. Hall.

If you have composite veneers, I would strongly recommend using Supersmile whitening toothpaste rather than an over-the-counter toothpaste brand, to help keep the bonding bright and beautiful for years. Also, avoid alcoholic beverages and any mouthwashes containing alcohol, because they will cause a breakdown of the surface. Also, read our other tips on maintaining cosmetic dental work.

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