The porcelain veneer has evolved in the era of esthetic dentistry to represent the go-to restoration in transforming smiles. Compared to full crown coverage, the porcelain veneer preparation spares tooth structure while altering the shape and shade of the existing dentition, producing profound improvements in anterior esthetics. Patients have jumped on board with demands for whitening and procedures that enhance their smiles, often referring to “smile design” by name. Social media and television have only fueled the public interest in this area. Improvements in ceramics themselves have optimized esthetics while allowing for minimal, and in some cases, no tooth reduction. Current resin cements produce high bond strengths without changing the optical properties of the restoration, creating strong life-like restorations that mimic the natural dentition.
From your patient’s perspective, if there is a downside to such a remarkable restoration, it can easily be the cost of the procedure. For you, there could be challenges with establishing an accurate diagnosis leading to a potential failure in function of one or more of the veneers, providing a reasonably accurate preview of the final esthetic product for patient evaluation prior to treatment, and a dependency on the laboratory to deliver a restoration that accurately reflects the expectations of both you and your patient.
In addition to advances in ceramics, composite resins have improved in handling and optical characteristics to the point that, in some cases, a composite veneer can be just as, or even more, natural-looking as a porcelain veneer. As well, a direct composite veneer offers many advantages over porcelain.