What is the Difference between Porcelain Veneers and Dental Bonding?

Cosmetic dentistry is a broad category of dental procedures, which includes anything that improves the appearance of your smile.  Two of the procedures, which can fall into the category of cosmetic dentistry, are porcelain veneers and dental bonding.  But these two procedures are very different, and they accomplish very different goals.

What are Porcelain Veneers?

A veneer is an overlay or covering.  In dentistry, a porcelain veneer covers or overlays the visible surface of a tooth.  This means they do not cover the tongue-side or biting surfaces of teeth.

Patients who choose porcelain veneers are usually changing the appearance of their smile, so they select multiple teeth to cover.  Most commonly, we use porcelain veneers in sets of six or eight teeth.

Porcelain veneers are made in a dental laboratory by a certified dental lab technician.  The lab technician works with your dentist to create beautiful porcelain veneers according to the specifications set by your dentist and you.  Great communication is important to ensure that you get the smile you want!

What is the Process to Improve Your Smile with Porcelain Veneers?

The dental treatment necessary for porcelain veneers requires two dental visits.  There are often additional pre-op visits to plan for the veneers.  This blog will only describe the two visits for the actual veneer process.

Visit #1

During the first visit, your dentist prepares the selected teeth for the porcelain veneers.  This preparation process involves removing and reshaping enamel to make room for the proper thickness of porcelain.  The need for anesthetic depends on the amount of enamel that must be removed.  Some patients need numbing, and some do not.

After the preparation of the teeth, your dentist takes a high-definition impression of 3D image of the teeth.  This how your dentist communicates an exact replica of your teeth to the lab technician who makes the veneers.

The prepared teeth are covered with provisional, or temporary, veneers.  The provisional veneers look nice and will cover the teeth while the porcelain veneers are being made in the lab.  The provisional veneers do require some care instructions, which are given to you at the end of visit #1.

Visit #2

About 3 weeks after visit #1, you return to the dentist for the placement of the porcelain veneers.  Your dentist removes the provisional veneers and cleans the teeth well.  He or she then tries in the porcelain veneers for you to evaluate.  Once you affirm that you love them, your dentist uses a permanent cement to bond them to your teeth.

You leave visit #2 with your dream smile!

What Dental Problems Do Porcelain Veneers Correct?

  • Discolored teeth
  • Misshapen teeth
  • Teeth that are too small or have gaps
  • Minor rotations or unevenness of teeth

What Dental Problems Do Porcelain Veneers NOT Correct?

  • Missing teeth
  • Very large cavities
  • Gum disease
  • Gum recession
  • Loose teeth

What is Dental Bonding?

Dental bonding is a term used to describe corrections and improvements made to teeth with tooth-colored composite filling material.  Composite adheres to enamel with a microscopic bond that is very strong.  Dentists use this material for making cosmetic changes to front teeth as well as for filling cavities on all teeth.

Composite comes in a large selection of colors, so your dentist can perfectly match it to your natural tooth shade.  Because composite bonds to your tooth, your dentist does not have to remove a lot of enamel for this procedure.  The material blends in with your tooth and polishes well, so you (and others) cannot tell where the tooth ends and the filling begins.

What is the Process to Improve Your Smile with Porcelain Veneers?

Because dental bonding involves placing tooth-colored filling material directly onto the tooth, it takes only one visit.  As with porcelain veneers, there may be other visits before the actual treatment visits for the purpose of planning.

At your dental bonding visit, the dentist may reshape any sharp edges or bulbous areas of the tooth before placing the composite material.  Your dentist applies the material directly onto the tooth, properly shapes it, and then polishes it to a high shine.  The length of the process depends on the size of the correction.

Composite bonding is not as strong as enamel, so you must be careful with these areas to keep them from chipping or breaking.  Your dentist and dental assistant will give you specific instructions on how to care for your dental bonding.

What Dental Problems Does Dental Bonding Correct?

  • Small gaps between teeth
  • Chipped or cracked front teeth
  • Notches or defects in enamel
  • Small or isolated discolorations

What Dental Problems Does Dental Bonding NOT Correct?

  • Very dark discolorations of teeth
  • Crooked teeth
  • Missing teeth
  • Very large cavities
  • Gum disease
  • Gum recession
  • Loose teeth

Other Differences Between Porcelain Veneers and Dental Bonding

The following is a list of a few other noteworthy differences between these two cosmetic dentistry procedures.

  • Porcelain veneers are more expensive than dental bonding.
  • Dentists can use veneers to create a complete smile makeover.
  • Porcelain veneers can make big changes, while dental bonding typically makes small changes.
  • Dental bonding is more likely to chip or break, and it is reparable.
  • Porcelain veneers are less likely to chip or break, and they are not reparable.  They must be replaced.
  • Dental bonding is a quick fix for a small problem.
  • Porcelain veneers are a life-changer because they give you a smile you’ve always dreamed of!

Are You Interested in One of These Types of Cosmetic Dentistry?

Call your nearest Premier Dental of Ohio location today to schedule a cosmetic dentistry consultation with one of our skilled dentists.  They can help you decide which option is right for you.