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A dental veneer is a thin layer of restorative material placed over a tooth surface, usually to improve esthetics. There are two main types of material used to fabricate a veneer: composite resin and porcelain. A composite veneer may be directly placed (built-up in the mouth), or indirectly fabricated by a dental technician in a dental laboratory and later bonded to the tooth. A porcelain veneer may only be indirectly fabricated.
Composite veneers have the advantages of one appointment placement and typically are less costly than porcelain veneers. However, they are also not as strong as porcelain veneers, and are more subject to staining and wear than porcelain.
Porcelain veneers can look more natural than composite because of the way light passes through them and because of their natural resistance to discoloration and surface staining.