If you’re not totally happy with the appearance of your smile, you might be thinking that you’ll just have to live with it. Fortunately, modern dental technology can provide the solution! In fact, you’ll be happy to know that there are two dental procedures that can repair minor dental issues and leave you with an absolutely gorgeous smile: dental bonding and porcelain veneers. Both of these cosmetic dentistry services can be done in a very short period of time, right in the dentist’s office. And both produce absolutely stunning results, often leaving patients with the kind of beautiful smiles that many never dreamed they could have! There are some important differences between the two procedures, which is why we’ve compiled the information in this article. What follows is everything you should know about dental bonding vs. veneers.
Are You a Good Candidate for Bonding or Veneers?
Both dental bonding and porcelain veneers are designed to correct relatively minor dental issues. Before your dentist considers you for either procedure, you’ll need to be in good oral health. That means that problems like tooth decay or gum disease (for example) will need to be resolved before your dentist will perform any kind of cosmetic dental service.
Assuming that you are in good oral health, both bonding and veneers can resolve the following minor dental problems:
- Chipped or cracked teeth
- Misshapen teeth
- Worn-down teeth
- Badly stained teeth
- Slightly crooked teeth
- Teeth with slight gaps in between
Both bonding and veneers can also serve to protect your teeth from further damage. In fact, dental bonding is sometimes recommended for patients who are cavity prone since the resin creates a smooth surface on the tooth, making it more difficult for bacteria to collect on the surface and reducing the chances for cavities to form.
An Introduction to Dental Bonding
Bonding involves your dentist applying a dental resin material directly to the surface of your existing teeth, waiting for the bonding material to harden, then shaping and polishing the material to form a perfect-looking tooth. Bonding requires very little preparation of the existing tooth prior to application of the resin. The bonding material is made to exactly match the color of your existing teeth, so no one will ever be able to tell that one or more of your teeth are bonded. The resin material not only resolves minor dental issues; it also provides a protective coating for the tooth, helping to protect it from further damage in the future.
An Introduction to Porcelain Veneers
A dental veneer consists of an extremely thin layer of porcelain that is custom made for each patient and applied directly over the surface of an existing tooth. This requires the dentist to remove a small amount of enamel from the tooth prior to applying the veneer, after which the porcelain is applied and bonded to the tooth using an adhesive. Similar to dental bonding, the porcelain material used in veneers is made to precisely match the color of your existing teeth. So you can have many teeth covered by veneers or just a single tooth. The end result is a repaired tooth that blends in perfectly with your other natural teeth.
Dental Bonding vs. Veneers: How They Differ
While it’s true that both bonding and veneers are designed to protect the patient’s existing teeth and correct minor dental issues, there are some important differences that you should be aware of.
- Durability – Although both the resin material used in bonding and the porcelain used in veneers are quite strong, veneers do last longer than bonding. Patients with bonded teeth will need to have the bonding replaced every 3 to 10 years, while most porcelain veneers last between 10 and 25 years if they’re well cared for.
- Staining – Generally speaking, porcelain veneers will retain their original shade for many years. The resin used in bonding, on the other hand, can be stained just like natural teeth. So if you choose to have your teeth bonded, you’ll need to be cautious in order not to stain the material.
- Affordability – Although the exact cost will vary depending on the provider, dental bonding is typically somewhat less expensive than veneers.
- Procedures – Both bonding and veneers can usually be applied in a single trip to the dentist’s office. However, veneers are custom-made, meaning that patients need to make two trips to the office – the first visit involves being fitted for the veneers, and the second visit is when the dentist will apply the customized veneers to the patient’s teeth.
- Preparation – Although both bonding and veneers require the dentist to prepare the teeth ahead of time, getting new porcelain veneers involves the dentist removing a more significant amount of enamel from the patient’s teeth. For that reason — because enamel doesn’t grow back once it’s removed — the veneer procedure is often considered to be an irreversible decision In other words, once you have veneers, you’ll need to continue to have them for the rest of your life.
- Dental issues – Both bonding and veneers are often the preferred method for certain types of dental problems. If your teeth are badly stained and can’t be whitened with bleaching products (which often happens with patients who have damaged enamel, for instance), your dentist may recommend veneers since the porcelain material doesn’t change color over time. On the other hand, if you have chipped teeth or gaps in between teeth, your dentist may recommend bonding since it can be more easily molded to change the shape of the tooth. And while either of these procedures can help to give you the appearance of a straighter smile, you should know that if your teeth are severely crooked, your dentist may recommend an orthodontic solution rather than a cosmetic procedure.
Both bonding and veneers can produce dramatic results in most patients. In fact, if you’ve envied celebrities with picture-perfect smiles, chances are that they achieved those smiles with one of these cosmetic procedures. Your dentist can help you decide which would be best for you and provide additional information regarding dental bonding vs. veneers.