In the realm of cosmetic dental care, there are a number of methods that can be used to help patients alter the look of their smiles.
If you want to change the shape, colour, or overall appearance of your teeth, you should consider dental veneers or dental bonding. Both procedures can help conceal visible flaws in your teeth and may give you the appearance of a more uniform smile.
What are dental veneers?
Veneers are thin pieces of porcelain that sit on the front layer of your teeth. They can add length, change shape, and lighten the colour of your teeth. A single veneer can be placed individually to cover just one tooth, or a full set can be applied to multiple teeth to make your smile more even.
Veneers are made in a laboratory to fit your teeth and are colour matched. They are placed directly on the teeth, thickening them, so the procedure usually necessitates the removal of a thin layer of enamel. Appointments are required to plan, but once that is completed, the actual process can usually be completed in 2-3 visits.
Who could benefit from veneers?
You are a good candidate for veneers if you have:
- Severe stains and discolouration
- Cracked teeth
- Chipped teeth
- Large gaps in between your teeth
- Crooked teeth (mild to moderate)
- Teeth that overlap
- Worn teeth
Pros of Veneers
By covering cracks, stains, and poorly shaped teeth, veneers can create white, uniform smiles. Porcelain is stain-resistant and extremely strong, making it resistant to chipping and cracking.
Veneers are colour matched as closely as possible to your natural teeth. They are made to appear slightly translucent, just like natural teeth, and as a result, are quite realistic in appearance.
Cons of Veneers
Veneers are thought to be a permanent procedure. Tooth enamel is removed and replaced with porcelain, which is then bonded to the tooth's top layer. This means that the veneer process has permanently altered the tooth.
Veneers can also be somewhat costly. This is because they are custom-made and can often take more time and skill during preparation and placement.
What is dental bonding?
Dental bonding is a broad term that encompasses all procedures that involve the application of white fillings to teeth. Bonding, like a porcelain veneer, is applied to the front surface of a tooth to change its size, shape, and colour for cosmetic purposes. Dental bonding can be used to repair individual teeth or to rebuild several teeth in order to achieve a uniform-looking smile.
Bonding can be a good choice for those with a small dental irregularity they want to change. Just like with veneers, the dentist will colour match the bonding material to your neighbouring teeth.
Who might benefit from dental bonding?
Dental bonding might be right for you if you have the following:
- Minor stains
- Misshapen teeth
- Exposed roots from receding gums
Pros of Dental Bonding
Bonding is typically completed in one appointment, making it faster than the porcelain veneer process, which requires at least two appointments. Bonding is often less expensive than porcelain veneers if the extent of the cosmetic work required is minimal to moderate.
If the bonding chips or breaks over time, it is typically quick and easy to repair. If taken care of properly, dental bonding can last for up to 10 years before it needs to be replaced.
Cons of Dental Bonding
One of the disadvantages of dental bonding is that it is not as strong as porcelain. It can chip more easily and is more porous, meaning it is more susceptible to staining.
The challenge of dental bonding is the aesthetic limitations of the material. It can be more difficult to mask very dark and discoloured teeth.
Furthermore, while bonding can be used to change a single or a few teeth, it can be difficult to change an entire smile. As a result, dental bonding can cost nearly as much as porcelain veneers because it requires significantly more time and skill on the part of the dentist.