Veneers vs. Bonding

Dr. Christopher Li Etobicoke - Li Family Dental

By Dr. Christopher Li

June 15, 2024

dental bonding, dental veneers, veneers vs bonding

Veneers and bonding are dental treatments used for both restorative and cosmetic treatments. Here we look at the difference between veneers vs. bonding as well as their uses in both restorative and cosmetic applications.

What Is The Difference Between Restorative And Cosmetic Dental Treatments?

difference-between-restorative-and-cosmetic-dentistry

Restorations are used to fix cavities or broken teeth, while cosmetic dental treatments help improve the appearance of healthy teeth. 

What Is Bonding In Dentistry?

what-is-bonding-in-dentistry

Dental bonding is used to repair minor damage to teeth by removing decay and applying a composite resin material to fill and reshape the damage. The resin is tooth-coloured, and is supple when first applied, requiring a dental “light” to fuse the material to the tooth and help it harden.

The resin can be matched to the colour of your teeth and manipulated to repair chipped or broken teeth. For cosmetic treatments, it can be used to fill gaps as an alternative to braces, improve the appearance of misshapen teeth, or cover permanent stains. 

How is bonding applied?

how-is-bonding-applied

Before the treatment begins, your dentist places a clear plastic “matrix” over the nearby teeth to protect them during the process. A mild chemical is applied to the surface of the tooth to make it rough enough for the resin to adhere. Your dentist will mix the resin with tints to help match the colour of your natural teeth. In the case of cosmetic treatments, you can choose the shade you prefer to cover stains.

Bonding is applied in layers and each layer is cured using light. Once each layer hardens, your dentist continues to add new layers until they achieve the thickness required. They can then shape and polish the resin to match your original tooth shape for restoration, or to improve the appearance for cosmetic treatments.

Can anyone get dental bonding?

No, dental bonding is not ideal for everyone. Some reasons your dentist might recommend against bonding include:

  • Severe chips or breakage that requires a crown
  • Bruxism (grinding and clenching teeth) 

How long does bonding last?

Dental bonding lasts from 4 to 8 years, depending on your oral hygiene routine, and whether you engage in any habits that can damage bonding such as biting your nails. 

Advantages and disadvantages of bonding

Advantages:

  • Easy, safe and affordable
  • Can be completed in one appointment unless several teeth are being treated
  • Very little tooth enamel is removed
  • Anesthesia is not required if you are having cosmetic bonding to cover stains

Disadvantages:

  • Dental bonding stains like natural teeth
  • Only lasts between 4-8 years
  • Vulnerable to chips and breaks, especially if you grind or clench your teeth 

When to choose bonding

when-to-choose-bonding-to-cover-permanent-stains-that-are-resistant-to-whitening

Bonding is a good choice when you:

  • Have a limited budget
  • Are younger
  • Want to create a more even appearance
  • Have minimal gaps to fill between teeth
  • Are restoring breaks, cracks, abrasion or cavities
  • Want to improve tooth shape or size
  • Wish to hide stains resistant to whitening treatments such as graying from medication
  • Need to repair damage from abrasion 

What Are Veneers?

what-are-dental-veneers

Dental veneers are thin porcelain “shells”, often referred to as the fake nails of dentistry. They are applied in the same manner as fake nails, except the fixative used to adhere them to the tooth is permanent. Porcelain veneers are exceptionally strong and resistant to stains. In most cases, veneers are used for cosmetic purposes to hide the same issues as bonding.

How are veneers applied?

how-are-veneers-applied

Although porcelain veneers are very thin, they add a bit more depth to your tooth. As a result, your dentist will remove a thin layer of your tooth enamel to accommodate the veneer. Because of this your dentist might use local anesthetic to freeze the area to keep you comfortable. A dental mould is made of your tooth to ensure the customized porcelain veneer fits perfectly to your natural tooth shape.

Temporary veneers are applied to protect your teeth while the veneers are crafted. An appointment is scheduled once your veneers are ready, and your temporary veneers are removed. The same chemicals used to roughen your teeth for bonding are applied to ensure the veneers create a firm bond. Your veneers are then glued to your teeth with a composite resin cement.

How long do veneers last?

Porcelain veneers can last 10 years or longer with proper care. 

Can anyone get veneers?

No, there are a few reasons your dentist might recommend another solution, including:

  • Tooth decay and gum disease that must be treated before veneers are applied
  • Enamel erosion that prevents veneers from adhering properly
  • Severe chips or breakage that requires a crown
  • Bruxism (grinding and clenching teeth) 

Advantages and disadvantages of veneers

Advantages:

  • Porcelain is very natural-looking
  • They don’t stain
  • They last upwards of 10 years with proper care
  • They are cavity-resistant

Disadvantages:

  • They won’t stain and change colour along with your natural teeth as you age, creating an uneven appearance that will require veneer replacement
  • Clenching and grinding will eliminate you as a candidate
  • They are more expensive than bonding
  • They are more prone to chips
  • They require temporary veneers that are very delicate
  • You’ll need two visits to complete the treatment

When to choose veneers

when-to-choose-veneers

  • To cover chipped or broken teeth
  • To fill in more severe gaps
  • To apply a stain resistant cover-up for existing stains
  • To improve the appearance of teeth that are too small or misshapen
  • When you want a more permanent solution
  • When you are older
  • When you have a higher budget 

Veneers vs. Bonding: Which is Better?

veneers-vs.-bonding-which-is-better

Both options work well for similar applications. Here are the key considerations when choosing the right option for you:

  • Veneers won’t stain, while bonding will
  • Because enamel is removed from your teeth for veneers, a poor seal can increase the risk of forming cavities, which is not a worry with bonding
  • Enamel removal for veneers means you can’t reverse your decision once you have them
  • Chipped or damaged veneers require full replacement, whereas bonding can be repaired
  • Porcelain veneers look more natural than the composite resin used for bonding
  • Although veneers won’t stain, this poses an issue as you age, as your natural teeth will stain over time, while your veneers remain white
  • Porcelain veneers are more expensive than bonding but last longer by at least five years or more

Depending on the reason for your treatment, sometimes a combination of dental bonding and veneers works well. You can discuss your options with your dentist to decide what treatment is best for you.

Give us a call at 416-232-2033 to discuss veneers or bonding, or request an appointment by clicking here.

Dr. Christopher Li

About the author

Doctor Christopher Li, DDS
Dr. Chris, as he is affectionately known, is a licensed dentist with over 20 years experience. His caring personality makes even the most tentative person at ease. Patients are constantly commenting about how Dr. Chris is incredible at delivering pain-free freezing, and how he has an amazing chair-side manner.  Dr. Chris loves sharing information with his patients and everyone who has teeth about how to care for their teeth, avoid tooth decay, and the treatments available to help them overcome their tooth pain or other dental issues so they can enjoy life and food to its fullest!

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