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Are you considering dental bonding or porcelain veneers?

The difference between dental bonding and porcelain veneers can be confusing for many patients; after all, they are used for similar makeover purposes. Both are used to restore teeth that are broken, chipped, unevenly spaced, or severely discolored. They can also be used to add length to a short tooth or fix a “gummy” smile.

However, despite their similar uses, your cosmetic dentist is very thoughtful and strategic when deciding which procedure will effectively meet your individual smile goals and needs. And there is quite a bit to take into consideration, like the health of the tooth, the severity of the damage, the strength of the patient’s bite, as well as their lifestyle and budget.

Here are the differences between dental bonding and porcelain veneers and how Millennium Dental ensures you get the best restoration for your unique smile.

What is dental bonding?

Dental bonding is the application of a colored resin material directly to the surface of the tooth. It is applied in layers, each hardened before applying the next, and is shaped by your dentist into a tooth-like appearance that matches the rest of your smile.

Since it is directly applied to the tooth and is minimally invasive, dental bonding is a relatively quick single office visit restoration, often taking between 30 and 60 minutes. It is a more budget-friendly option that can be expected to last between five and 10 years with proper routine care.

The resin used in bonding is not as strong as our natural teeth, so it must be used with care. That means you should not use your teeth as tools, such as to open packaging, and you should refrain from chewing ice or hard candy. These activities are enough to damage a natural tooth, so hopefully, you aren’t already in the habit of doing them. Like our natural teeth, the resin from dental bonding is also susceptible to staining from coffee, wine, smoking, and dark-colored beverages.

What are porcelain veneers?

Porcelain veneers are a thin, shell-like dental prosthetic made from a single block of porcelain that is permanently bonded to the natural tooth. A veneer sits on top of a tooth much like a dental crown; however, unlike a crown, it only covers the visible front-most surface of the tooth. Similarly to a crown, veneers require a minimal amount of the natural tooth to be removed to make space for their placement.

Veneers are typically completed in two office visits. During the first visit, the tooth being treated is prepared for placement and then an imprint of your bite is taken and sent off to the lab. Since a veneer sits over a tooth, a minimal amount of the natural tooth must be removed to create enough space for the dental prosthetic to snugly fit within your smile. The lab uses the impression of your prepped teeth to craft a natural-appearing, custom-fit veneer.

Once the office receives your custom dental prosthetic from the lab, your dentist will have you come in for your second appointment to have it placed. Your dentist will ensure the veneer sits over the natural tooth properly and fits both comfortably and seamlessly within your smile. A dental cement is used to permanently bind the veneer to the surface of your tooth. This second visit can typically take around two hours.

There is no recovery time after placement, and once you leave the office, you can get back to your normal routine with your new smile! Your veneers should be cared for in the same way you care for the rest of your natural teeth—brush twice each day and floss daily, avoid chewing ice or hard candies, wear a night guard if you grind your teeth at night, and do not use your teeth as tools.

The Millennium Dental Difference

Our very own Dr. Harrison specializes in cosmetic dentistry. She is a member of many dental associations, including the American Association of Cosmetic Dentistry, and is an alumni of the Pankey Institute. She continuously fine-tunes and expands her knowledge of the latest best practices and innovations in the field.

Her commitment to understanding the intricacies of occlusion, the way our teeth meet together when closed, allows her to expertly choose whether dental bonding or veneers will be the best option for each patient. This ensures a restoration that can last for years, if not decades, to come.

The way our teeth meet together and how much force they endure is different for each person. These factors greatly impact how successfully veneers or bonding will fare over the years of use. Dr. Harrison will take all of this into consideration when making a treatment plan for your smile makeover. Each smile is as unique as the person it belongs to, and we believe it should be treated as such!