Teeth bonding and porcelain veneers are cosmetic dental procedures that, when performed with proper care by a professional cosmetic dentist, can transform your smile.

Both dental bonding and veneers can be used to cover stains, imperfections, and discolored teeth. However, there are some important differences that are essential for dental patients to know.

Key Differences Between Dental Bonding and Veneers

The main difference between dental veneers and dental bonding is that dental veneers fit over the front surface of the tooth whereas dental bonding is used to fill cavities and chips.

Generally, cosmetic dentists use dental veneers as part of a smile makeover to cover slightly crooked or uneven teeth with a natural-looking, wafer-thin façade. They have a very clean and professional look, which is why there are so many celebrities with porcelain veneers.

Dental bonding is a cosmetic procedure that uses dental bonding resin to repair chipped, broken, or damaged teeth. Dental or cosmetic bonding can also be used to lengthen teeth that are shorter than others to create a more uniform look.

Questions to Consider When Thinking About Dental Bonding vs Veneers

When weighing up the question of dental bonding vs veneers, it can be helpful to ask a few basic questions about what you’re trying to achieve and how much time and money you’re able to invest.

1. How Much Do You Want to Change the Appearance of Your Teeth?

Veneers lead to a much more dramatic change in the shape, color, and appearance of your teeth. If that’s your goal, you may be more suited to veneers. In contrast, if you’re simply wanting to fix imperfections while retaining the color and much of the appearance of your natural teeth, dental bonding could be the right solution.

2. How Long Do You Want Your Dental Work to Last?

The materials used for dental veneers vs bonding have a significant effect on how long the dental work will last.

Materials Matter

If opting for veneers, you’ll need to decide between composite and porcelain veneers. Though other options exist, these are the most commonly used materials. 

Porcelain Veneers

  • Offer a durable and more permanent solution, often lasting for 15-20 years

  • Leave a shiny, iridescent finish that’s reminiscent of a natural tooth

  • Are stain-resistant, guaranteeing a Hollywood shine for the entirety of their lifetime

  • Are often used in smile makeovers for whiter, more professional-looking teeth

Resin Veneers

Resin veneers also offer excellent results for many people but don't offer the same durability or finish as porcelain veneers.

Resin veneers:

  • Have a shorter lifespan, typically having to be replaced 5-7 years after the initial procedure

  • May stain over time just like natural teeth

  • Are more budget-friendly than porcelain veneers, although the longer lifespan of porcelain veneers often makes up for the higher initial cost

A Natural-Looking Smile Is Possible with Porcelain Veneers!

Though whiter teeth are the right choice for some patients, the whitest shade of teeth may not be for everyone. To cater to a broad range of patients, experienced cosmetic dentists create natural-looking veneers in different shades. During the evaluation and treatment process, your dentist will work with you to choose the shade that best suits your smile.

3. How Much Time Are You Able to Invest?

The dental bonding procedure takes less time than the dental veneer procedure. If you need to fix imperfections urgently ahead of a special event, this may influence your decision.

Timeline for Dental Bonding

Dental bonding is a quick and minimally invasive cosmetic dental procedure that usually takes 30-60 minutes and only one office visit to complete.

After selecting the resin color that most closely matches the natural color of the tooth, the dentist removes any damaged tissue, applies the resin to the damaged areas of the tooth, and hardens it with ultraviolet light. Once the resin has hardened, the tooth is polished for a seamless and natural-looking finish.

Timeline for Dental Veneers

The process of applying veneers typically can take up to one or two weeks, as the custom-made shells need to be made up in a dental laboratory and returned to the dentist for fitting.

If, as in most cases, the patient opts for porcelain veneers:

  1. The top layer of enamel is ground off the tooth's surface and an impression of the tooth underneath is taken. Your dentist will apply temporary veneers so that you can try them out for color and fit.

  2. The mold is sent off to an external lab that constructs the veneers, creating a surface that perfectly fits each individual tooth.

  3. Once they’re ready (usually after one or two weeks), the dentist cements the permanent veneers to the teeth. 

4. What Is Your Budget for Dental Work?

Dental bonding comes with a much lower price tag than dental veneers, although the longer lifespan of veneers often compensates for the higher cost. When comparing the cost of dental procedures, it’s important to keep in mind that there are several factors that affect the cost of each procedure. The material chosen will greatly influence the price. Patients can also expect price variations between clinics, cities, and states. 

The Cost of Dental Veneers 

Based on industry averages (your dentist’s prices may be different), you can expect to pay around $950-$2,500 per tooth for porcelain veneers. Composite veneers will generally set patients back anywhere between $250 and $1,500 per tooth. 

Please note: Though the cost of porcelain veneers may seem significantly higher than composite veneers, the much shorter lifespan of composite veneers should be taken into account when weighing up your options.

The Cost of Dental Bonding

For dental bonding, budget anywhere from $300 to 600 per tooth, depending on the clinic and the extent of the work required. 

If you would prefer a longer-lasting option like porcelain inlays and onlays or porcelain crowns but can’t afford the full cost upfront, it’s often possible to arrange a payment plan or take out a loan through dental credit providers. When you go to see your dentist, he or she will be happy to take you through your treatment options, the costs involved, and the repayment options available.

Still Unsure about Teeth Bonding vs Dental Veneers?

It goes without saying that if in doubt, your first port of call should be an experienced cosmetic dentist who can discuss the best option for you taking into consideration your health, age, needs, and budget.

Whichever procedure you ultimately choose, selecting a reputable dentist who takes a personalized approach will ensure that you'll end up with a beautiful and long-lasting result.

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