If you’ve been looking for ways to improve your smile, you’ve almost certainly run across the terms ‘dental veneers’ and ‘dental bonding’. Both of these techniques share a single purpose, to mask imperfections in your teeth and give you a shining pearly white smile. There are differences between the procedures, of course, and determining which is best for you is going to involve a number of factors, including overall costs.
What Exactly Are Veneers?
Veneers are an incredibly popular solution for those seeking to improve the appearance of their smiles and their teeth. They are thin coatings made of porcelain that are placed on the front of the teeth, serving much the same purpose as artificial nails for your fingers do. Officially, according to the AACD (American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry), the purpose of this procedure is to cover gaps between the teeth, hide stains, and reduce the impact of crooked teeth on your smile.
The technique involves the removal of a portion of your natural enamel from the front of your teeth, and replacing it with the porcelain. The removal of enamel is necessary to help maintain a natural appearance by accounting for the thickness of the new coating. Once the enamel is removed a mold will be made and sent to the lab where these veneers are constructed, ensuring that there will be a perfect fit. Once these are received by your dentist, they’ll be applied with an adhesive material. The procedure is somewhat lengthy, taking three doctors visits and a number of weeks, but the end result is a beautiful set of shining white teeth free from imperfections.
Veneers: The Good Points and Bad Points
The best part about veneers is that they’re almost indistinguishable from your natural teeth, a result of their being formed from a mold from your teeth and thus custom built for you. The naturally translucent quality of the material also makes them appear closer to natural teeth. Even better, they resist staining and thus will remain white for a long time to come. The price is steep, however, ranging from $800-$2,000 a tooth depending on various factors including the skill of the dentist and the area surrounding their practice.
What About Dental Bonding?
Dental bonding is a bit different from veneers, employing a mixed resin that bonds to your teeth to aid in masking imperfections. The dentist mixes the color to match your teeth and then applies it by hand, a bit like putty. While it will cover up imperfections, it lacks the translucent quality of veneers and thus is more easily distinguished from natural teeth. This technique is primarily used to make chipped, short, or discolored teeth look better for the patient, and requires almost no preparation.
Dental Bonding: The Good Points and Bad Points
Let’s cut straight to the point here, they’re faster, and cheaper than veneers by a goodly margin. One doctors visit is all you’ll need to have them applied, and the cost ranges between $200-$700 per tooth based on the same factors mentioned previously. Of course, you get what you pay for, and dental bonding is subject to staining from tea, wine, smoke, coffee, etc. They tend to be a good option for repairs, but not for cosmetic upgrades.
The Shared Drawback
Neither veneers or dental bonding are as strong as your natural teeth, so some of the things you may have used your natural teeth for are best avoided with these. Don’t crack open nuts with your teeth, chew your nails, ice, or anything else that’s hard. One more thing, both of these solutions are temporary, with veneers lasting 15 years or so, and dental bonding lasting two to five.
Take care of your natural teeth, nothing else can truly replace them.