Difference Between Direct and Indirect Composite Veneers

Veneers Charlotte, NC

For patients receiving a new set of veneers, the many options and words used to discuss the materials and application methods can become confusing. Porcelain, composite, filing, shaping, and application time are terms used by dentists and staff that can confuse patients who are not familiar with veneers or the application process. The main difference between direct and indirect composites lies in the method of application rather than any difference in the materials used.

When veneers can and cannot be applied

Veneers are a great cosmetic dental solution for patients who have stained, chipped, or cracked teeth. If the dental damage is extensive, however, the dentist will discuss whether veneers are the correct cosmetic choice. At times, a patient will have to undergo other restoration work including the filling of cavities, the placement of crowns, or the treatment of gum disease before veneers can be applied.

For healthy candidates with minor cosmetic complaints, veneers are an ideal choice. Porcelain veneers are a good option for patients who are committed to a permanent appliance to correct imperfections, such as gaps, extreme staining, or an uneven smile; however, porcelain material only adheres to teeth that have been filed down. This filing process removes necessary enamel from teeth, which means that the porcelain veneer patient will always need veneers to protect these filed teeth. Composite veneers are a reversible option that can be applied directly to the teeth and shaped within one or two dental appointments.

The main difference between direct and indirect composite veneers

Both direct and indirect composite veneers can solve minor dental problems without necessitating the filing down or removing of enamel from the patient’s natural teeth. The difference between the two types of composite veneers lies in the method of application rather than any differences in the materials applied to the teeth.

1. Direct composite veneers

Direct composites may be the type patients imagine when they think of receiving a set of veneers in a dental chair. These devices are made of composite resin and shaped while on the patients’ teeth. This allows for a quick and painless application process.

2. Indirect composite veneers

Indirect composites are also made of composite resin but are shaped in a lab as opposed to at the patient’s appointment. After the dentist cleans and preps the patient’s teeth, the patient receives a temporary set of veneers while waiting for the indirect composites to be made. This type of veneer is applied over two appointments rather than one. These appliances are slightly more costly than direct ones but are also more durable, and on average, last longer than the direct composite veneers.


Choosing the type of veneers for each patient largely depends on the patient’s dental history and wishes for the end result. Both direct and indirect composite veneers are viable options for most patients with healthy natural teeth who want to simply enhance a smile with a minimally invasive and painless procedure. If you have questions about either type of composite veneers, be sure to contact a licensed dentist today to set up a consultation.

Request an appointment here: https://artdentistrync.com or call ART Dentistry at (704) 405-1523 for an appointment in our Charlotte office.

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