Dental veneers and dental bonding are both common dental procedures, which are used to repair damaged or malformed teeth or to correct the appearance of a tooth. Despite doing similar jobs, they are different procedures which take different approaches to the task at hand. So which one is right for you? Well, that depends on what you need to accomplish and your own unique oral health situation. To answer the question, let’s start by taking a look at each procedure and learning how dental veneers and dental bonding work, and what the difference between them is.
What are Dental Veneers?
As the name suggests, dental veneers are a kind of dental prosthesis applied to the outer layer of the tooth in need of correction or repair. They are composed of a porcelain shell, which is shaped and colored to match the desired appearance of the tooth in question. The tooth is then reshaped by grinding the enamel to accept the prosthesis, and then the dental veneer is attached using a strong dental adhesive. Dental veneers are used for a number of reasons, including as a repair for chipped teeth, as a means of correcting discolored teeth, or as a way to repair mis-shapen or mis-spaced teeth without relying on more complex orthodontic procedures.
Dental veneers are generally discomfort-free for most patients. They’re safe and relatively easy routine procedures, and if properly cared for via regular brushing, flossing, and dental exams they will last a lifetime. They function just like a natural tooth, allowing a full range of normal activities right away.
How Does Dental Bonding Work?
Like dental veneers, dental bonding is used to repair damaged teeth, but in a much different way and for different kinds of damage. Dental bonding works by replacing the damaged or lost portion of an otherwise healthy tooth with a malleable material which is then hardened to look and function like natural enamel. During the procedure, the dentist will shape this malleable material to fill in the missing or damaged portion of the tooth in question, while also ensuring that it matches the color of the patient’s natural enamel. When this material is shaped and fitted correctly, the dentist will then use a special light to harden the material relatively quickly.
While dental veneers are mostly used to repair minor or cosmetic damage, dental bonding is used to replace large chips or cracks or replace lost sections of broken teeth. Like dental veneers, dental bonding is generally a pain-free procedure and quick and easy to perform. This allows the patient to resume a normal range of activities quickly. Dental bonding is also much like dental veneers in that with proper care, a dental bond will provide a lifetime of service. Proper care, as always, means regular brushing and flossing along with regular trips to the dentist for exams and cleanings.
So, Which One is Right for Me?
Whether you need a dental veneer or a dental bonding will depend on a number of things, essentially boiling down to your needs and goals for the procedure. A discolored or chipped tooth may be happy with a dental veneer, while more extensive damage may require a dental bonding to set right. The important thing is to discuss any damage to your teeth with your dentist as soon as possible; they can help you make the right decision.
Whether a dental veneer or a dental bonding, the goal is to ensure that your oral health and your smile are the best they can be. So talk to your dentist today about your needs and goals and get started on the path to better, healthier teeth.