Porcelain vs composite veneers

‘Nothing beats a great smile’ – Karl Urban

I’ve had minor issues with my teeth since I was born. When I was a toddler got German measles which infected my gums so when my adult teeth grew in they had large yellow stains on them (Enamel hypoplasia). My bottom set of teeth have always been slightly misaligned. As a teenage I chipped the very corner of my right front tooth (how, I forget) which was always filled in but kept on coming off. Eventually when I was about 25 I bit into an Asda toffee biscuit and the entire bottom right corner of my right front tooth cracked off.

Far me it for me to rock the slack-jawed yokel look, it was straight off to the dentist who fixed me up with a porcelain veneer. This worked wonders for many years and although I was always wary about biting into things; apples, carrots, Asda toffee biscuits, the veneer lasted pretty well. Until it pinged off in 2015 while I was eating a Greggs chicken mayonnaise baguette (I feel they specific foods are important details for one reason). Back to the dentist I went. He said without me having to re-mortgage my house, the best option would be just glue the veneer back on. Which was great for the wallet but my gums had slightly receded by then, as they do as you get older, and the colour of my teeth has changed so the veneer no longer matches as well as it did.

It was one of those things were no one really noticed unless I pointed it out, but I knew, and I grew to detest that godforsaken yellow snaggletooth. And when i saw this picture, which was taken in January 2019. I knew i needed to do something about it:

Problem was, I could afford the best part of £500 it was going to cost to have it fixed.

That was until I got a promotion at work, writing web content for dentists no less. The extra money and the access I had to clinical colleagues quickly helped me make the decision to get my teeth fixed once and for all. I even had the luxury of being able to talk to some dentist friends of mine to help me make the decision between porcelain or composite veneers. Porcelain are stronger and possibly look better (they have the ‘shine’ of natural teeth whereas composite veneers can look dull and often need regular polishing). But at £500 per tooth for a porcelain veneer and only £180 for composite there’s a huge price difference.

Porcelain vs Composite

Porcelain Veneers can be very good cosmetically (more likely than composite fillings), but can debond/chip and usually will require replacement however with composite veneers you just re-build the chipped portion

Composite materials (white fillings) have steadily improved over the years, the reason a composite veneer is cheaper is that it is directly build-up on the tooth as a filling without the cost of a laboratory item the downside is that they can deteriorate over time.

Making the choice

I had the added problem that my left front tooth had a huge measles stain on it which, with a new shiny white veneer o it, would look even more noticeable. So was advised by both my own dentist, and my dental colleagues to get both front teeth done for symmetry. When meant I was potentially looking at a hefty 1K dental bill.  I ummed and ahhed for a while, did  a lot of research, looked at a lot of pictures and was sold on taking the plunge and forking out the grand on interest free credit and getting the porcelain ones. They’re my teeth after all, and I’d grown to hate them for so long I thought it was worth the investment.

Before

Then the morning of my first appointment, to remove the old veneer and prep the teeth ready for the veneers to be made in the lab. I was scrolling through my own dentists Instagram feed and looking at all the brilliant work then did on other people’s veneers.

And they were all composite veneers. So, I plonked myself in the chair and told me dentist I’d changed my mind and wanted composite instead. It was the obvious choice all along I think I was just getting bogged down with the whole ‘you get what you pay for’ mentality that often surrounds cosmetic treatments. My dentist was great, said that was no issue at all, and instead of the treatment being spread over 3 appointments, it was all done in 40 minutes. The only real pain was the numbing injection I needed in the roof of my mouth and a little discomfort keeping my mouth open that long (which, for the amount I talk you wouldn’t expect to be an issue).

The results

When he handed me the mirror at the end of the appointment I honestly could have cried. I’d become so used to my horrible yellow tombstones that I never imagined they could look so good. I was given a follow up appointment to let them ‘settle in’ and decide if I needed anything further doing in terms or size and shape.

Teeth straight after

I went back two weeks later just to have some nf the edges softened because they were looking a bit square but other than that I was happy as a 14-year-old me at a Backstreet Boys concert.

I’ve never been anti cosmetic surgery or cosmetic enhancements in the slightest.  Do what makes you happy. If getting Botox makes you more confident, fill your face with it. if wearing a tonne of makeup makes you happy, cake it on, blend it in until your arms fall off for all I care. I know that getting my teeth fixed has made me immensely happy, without getting myself into a load of debt, and being happy. And not having a load of debt happen to be two of my biggest life goals. After marrying one of the Backstreet Boys.

Now I love my new smile…

 

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