“Let a smile be your umbrella.” “Smile and the world smiles with you.” We’ve all heard these well-known statements many times. And we know many things can make us smile: a newborn baby, a sunny day, a special memory. Smiles usually come naturally. But what if seeing your own smile doesn’t make you smile because it isn’t as attractive as you’d like it to be? Lifetime Dental Health can help, with two procedures designed to turn a so-so smile into a so nice one: bonding and veneers.
What’s the Difference Between Veneers and Bonding?
Dental veneers and dental bonding can both cover your chipped, cracked, or broken teeth so well that no one (except you and us) will know they aren’t your natural teeth. However, though they are designed to solve the same problems, differences between veneers and bonding may make one or the other more appropriate for your situation.
Bonding is simpler and less involved than a veneer. And it doesn’t change your tooth. Bonding uses dental resin to build directly upon the damaged or discolored tooth. Depending on the level of damage, it can fill in gaps between teeth, hide roots revealed by receding gums, or build up a broken tooth. We apply the resin (color-matched to your natural teeth) directly to the surface of a problem tooth and harden it using a special dental light. Once it’s hardened, we file it smooth, and shape it to blend with the shape of your other teeth.
A veneer is a piece of extremely thin porcelain shaped to cover the front of a damaged, misshapen, or discolored tooth. Like bonding resin, the porcelain is colored to match your natural teeth. Unlike bonding, a veneer involves an outside dental lab for its preparation and, most often, two or more dental appointments. In the first visit, we reshape your tooth and make an impression of it for the dental lab. In the second, we apply the veneer to your tooth with safe dental cement. To get a perfect fit, we may need to remove and adjust the veneer several times before it is set. Though more involved than bonding, a veneer can last for as long as 15 years.
What Are the 5 Most Important Factors to Consider Before Choosing?
Neither bonding nor veneers are right for every damaged tooth. And even for good candidates, bonding and veneers are not equally appropriate. Let’s look at 5 factors you’ll want to consider in making your choice:
Looks. Since the goal is a more appealing smile, the look of the result is an important consideration. Both procedures provide “new” teeth that look like – and react like – the rest. Over time, bonding is prone to staining and may need to be redone for best effect. Porcelain is virtually stainless, so If your teeth are significantly stained or discolored, a veneer will work better than bonding. As for chips, cracks, or breaks, bonding can be redone if need be; If a veneer cracks, the only fix is a crown.
Durability/Longevity. Whichever choice you make, you’ll want it to last as long as possible, and that’s dependent upon the material used. Bonding material is a dental resin brushed onto a tooth. That’s why you only need one dental visit, and why, if it chips or discolors, it can be readily repaired. Veneers are made of porcelain, and they are customized to your tooth. Veneers cannot be repaired.
Time. Bonding comes out ahead when it comes to time, as it can usually be done in a single dental visit. Veneers always require two visits, and sometimes three. To cure a painful tooth, or up your smile for a special occasion, a one-stop procedure could be the better call.
Cost. It’s no surprise that bonding is less expensive than veneers. Veneers require the skills and equipment of a dental lab in addition to that of a dentist. However, the difference lessens as the amount of work involved increases. For one or two teeth, bonding may be just what you want. However, the more teeth you have that need repair, the smaller the difference. Be sure to compare costs based on your actual situation, as in some cases veneers may be worth the extra bit more.
Maintenance. When it comes to daily care, veneers and bonding are equal, and a good dental hygiene routine, plus regular professional check-ups and cleanings, is crucial. Both bonded teeth and those with a veneer, need daily brushing and flossing just like your natural teeth. And like natural teeth, to keep them from chipping, cracking, or staining, it’s best to avoid hard food, such as hard candy, nuts, and crunchy snacks; dark beverages, such as red wine, dark fruit juices, and colas; chewing ice; and using tobacco.
This is a lot to think about regarding bonding and veneers, so you’ll want to be sure to start with a consultation to help you decide which procedure would be best for you. You can contact us or make an appointment online. Our dentists are always available to help you make a choice you’ll be happy with.