Composite veneers are very different to porcelain ones, not only in performance but also in the way they are fitted. Composite bonding material does not have a firm structure like porcelain, it is a malleable substance, more commonly used to fill cavities or to repair damaged enamel; instead of forming hard shells out of the material, it is shaped and worked constantly until it hardens, to build a natural-looking smile.
Because this type of tooth veneers are applied to the surface of the teeth as they are, there is generally very little reconstruction required – some patients may need to have specific problem areas shaved down, but it is quite rare for a dentist to perform the same amount of reshaping on a person who is having composite work done as they would with a set of porcelain veneers. After any necessary remodeling has been carried out the teeth must be thoroughly cleaned in preparation for the next stage; in the same way as with ceramic products, all bacterial build-up and plaque deposits must be removed to give the material the best chance of bonding with the minerals.
The surgeon will begin the procedure by adding a generous layer of composite material to the surface of the teeth, then they will carefully mould and reduce it to a good size for a natural outcome. The second layer is applied before the first one is completely dry, to make sure the two bond properly during the hardening process, and the first step is repeated; most dentists will apply three or four layers to build a strong structure and create a good proportion between mouth and teeth.
Composite filler does not take very long to dry initially, but it does continue to harden in the following weeks, normally reaching optimum durability after about ten to fourteen days. Immediately after the new veneers have hardened – some dentists may employ a curing light to speed the process along – it is important to smooth out the material and get rid of any sharp edges, excess cement, and over-sized areas, so that the patient is left with a flawless smile. It is also common practice to polish the teeth to a beautiful shine as a final stage of the treatment.