Problem: “I’ve been told that bonding is just as good as veneers, but it costs less. I’m not sure which one is right for me.” Treatment planning for smile makeovers usually includes a discussion of using bonding vs veneers. The answers vary from patient to patient.
Solution: “You need to learn what bonding and veneers can do for your smile. When you understand these two treatments, you’ll see how they’re similar but also very different. The solution to your problem is education!”
In this article, you’ll learn:
- what bonding is
- what porcelain veneers are
- how these two treatments differ
- the pros and cons of each
- how to find a dentist who can help you
After reading the article through to the end, you’ll have all the information you need to discuss bonding and veneers with your cosmetic or restorative dentist.
What is bonding?
Do you have any tooth-colored fillings? The material used for composite bonding is exactly the same material that is used for filling a cavity. It’s called tooth colored composite resin, and it contains no metal at all.
At the dentist’s office, resin begins as a moldable material. The dentist adds color to the resin so that it matches the tooth it will be placed in or on. Resin has components that give it good strength and similar reflective quality to tooth enamel.
After the plastic composite is applied to a tooth, a special light hardens the material. In its final form, plastic teeth are strong enough to endure biting and chewing. It can last five to 10 years (and often longer) if cared for properly.
When comparing bonding vs veneers, the former is often thought of as the easiest and least expensive cosmetic option. Remember to brush and floss to maintain your bonding.
- make teeth wider (to close spacing)
- make teeth larger
- restore the surface of a tooth
- provide a coating over teeth, for protection
- add structure to oddly shaped or crooked teeth (to create a straight appearance)
What are veneers?
Porcelain veneers are small, handmade ceramic shells that the dentist secures to the surface of front teeth. They are resistant to stains from red wine and coffee tea.
Ceramic is strong and natural-looking. When comparing bonding vs veneers, the later is stronger, more life-like, and lasts much longer. With good oral health and proper care, veneers can last 20+ years. Most patients have veneers placed on the eight to 10 teeth that show when they smile.
The cosmetic dental procedure can achieve the same goals that dental bonding can, such as:
- close spacing between teeth
- make teeth look longer or wider
- reshape a chipped tooth
- provide instant, lasting whitening to a discolored tooth
- correct the shape of teeth
How composite bonding used in a total smile makeover?
A complete smile makeover involves two or more cosmetic procedures, as well as other treatments as needed. Smile makeovers transform the appearance of a smile by reshaping or replacing teeth.
A cosmetic dentist may employ any of these procedures with composite bonding to create a smile makeover plan:
- porcelain veneers
- teeth whitening
- white fillings
- pretty white crowns
- braces or Invisalign (orthodontics)
- gum contouring
- dental implants
Advantages of bonding vs veneers?
Resin bonding takes just one visit and veneers take two or more: Bonding is a direct restoration, meaning it is created and placed in the dentist’s office. In contrast, porcelain veneers are indirect restorations. They are fabricated in a dental lab, according to the dentist’s design.
Bonded teeth last five to seven years and porcelain can last up to 20: Composite resin is not as durable as dental porcelain. Generally, resins can last five to ten years, sometimes longer. In comparison, porcelain may last up to 20 years or more.
Composite is often used on children, but not porcelain veneers: Children commonly chip teeth while playing or competing in sports. A dentist will apply white filling material to restore the broken tooth. This resin can be easily replaced as the child’s teeth grow. Veneers, however, are not the preferred restoration for children.
Is there anything else you should know?
Yes. composite resin is tinted to match the current color of tooth enamel on the tooth being restored. The enamel on that tooth may change color over time, but the artificial plastic will not change. The plastic fillings may appear “off.” At this point, the plastic resin should be replaced to match better. Also, the seam between the resin and the tooth enamel may stain. Again, this indicates that it’s time to replace the composite.
Dental insurance will pay some portion of some non-elective procedures. The amounts vary based on the premium paid.
Learn more about how to choose between bonding vs veneers
Now that you’ve learned about tooth bonding and veneers, you’ll have the information necessary to understand what the cosmetic dentist recommends. The cost of dental treatments like the ones listed is worth the investment.