When it comes to cosmetic dentistry, there are many treatment options available to improve the appearance of your smile. Many people turn to teeth whitening to brighten the smile, but this technique only improves the color of the teeth. What if you do not like the size or shape of yours? In that case, teeth whitening will not cut it. You’ll need to consider treatment options that change or cover the teeth, altering shape, size, and color.
Two of those options are “bonding” (a term dentists do not typically use, which we will explain further) and veneers. Is one better than the other?
What is Bonding?
We are not sure where the term “bonding” came from, but we don’t like it because it sounds dangerous similar to “Bondo”. Bondo is an all-purpose putty resin that people can use to fill in defects in metal, bricks, concrete, drywall, etc… Bondo is nothing like dental composite restorations.
Some people may refer to the dental restoration with composite resin as “bonding” because it is capable of bonding to both enamel and dentin (the underlying core of the tooth). This adhesive bond and the inherent strength of the material make composite resin a wonderful dental restorative material.
Composite is also available in countless colors, so your dentist can perfectly match your teeth. It does not require the removal of healthy tooth structure, and your dentist molds it directly onto your tooth. (Only a single visit is necessary for the treatment.)
If composite resin breaks, your dentist can easily repair it by bonding new material to the tooth without replacing the entire restoration. Your dentist can use composite to add to the shape and size of a tooth or use it to replace missing tooth structure. This means composite can cover a small portion of a tooth or the entire visible surface in a composite veneer.
What are Veneers?
A veneer, by definition, covers the entire visible portion of a tooth. Typically, this means the side of the tooth facing the lips and cheeks, the biting edge, and just a short overlap onto the biting surface. Most people think of veneers made from porcelain, but as we mentioned in the prior section, your dentist can use composite resin to make veneers covering the visible tooth, too. For this reason, we will use the term “veneers” to mean porcelain veneers in this section.
Porcelain veneers completely cover the visible portion of tooth with porcelain made in a dental lab. With porcelain, we can completely change the shape, size and color of the teeth. We can even make minor changes to the apparent position (we don’t actually move the teeth, but we can make them appear straighter than they truly are with the coverage.)
Porcelain veneers, being made in a dental lab, do require two visits with your dentist and coverage of the teeth by temporary veneers between the two visits. Porcelain is very strong and very brittle. If it breaks, your dentist must remove the remainder and replace the entire veneer. We cannot repair porcelain inside the mouth.
Is One Better than the Other?
They are both wonderful treatment options, and at Prosper Family Dentistry, our dentists are skilled in both!
It could be that one option is a better fit for your specific needs. We believe that good communication is the first step in great cosmetic dentistry. Our doctors will spend time with you to understand exactly what your goals are for your smile. They will also gather detailed information about the current state of your smile through a comprehensive evaluation, three-dimensional imaging, high-definition photographs, and identical models of your teeth mounted into a replica of your bite relationship.
Drs. Jill, Cara and Summer then put the information together from your communication and your current state to determine which treatment options will meet your smile goals. You make the final decision!
More Questions about Cosmetic Dental Options?
Call Prosper Family Dentistry at 972-347-1145 today to schedule a cosmetic consultation with Dr. Jill, Dr. Cara and Dr. Summer. They can answer any questions you have about the various options for improving your smile, and help you choose the one that is right for you!