No one should have to be self-conscious about smiling. And yet, visible flaws can keep people from wanting to show off their otherwise beautiful teeth. To help our Troy patients hide these pesky imperfections and boost their confidence, we offer a number of treatments for nearly any cosmetic dental problem. Dental bonding and porcelain veneers are two such treatments, each able to benefit patients in different ways. Read on to learn the advantages and capabilities of these procedures.
What Is Dental Bonding?
Dental bonding is the process of restoring chipped enamel, or covering existing enamel, with composite resin. This composite is the same material used in many tooth-colored fillings, and can effectively mimic a tooth’s form and appearance. Your cosmetic dentist can carefully bond the composite to your tooth, filling or masking minor flaws. The process is simple:
- The surface of your tooth will be made coarse for better adhesion to the composite resin.
- A thin piece of plastic will placed between your teeth, protecting adjacent teeth from accidental contact.
- A layer of composite will be applied then hardened with ultraviolet light. Additional layers will be applied in this way until enough composite has bonded.
- The hardened composite will be reshaped to match the natural appearance of your tooth.
Candidates for Dental Bonding
Patients who may benefit from a dental bonding procedure are those who require minor repair or improvement of a tooth. Bonding cannot restore a severely damaged tooth, but it can be used for the following:
- Fixing a chipped or cracked tooth
- Replacing eroded enamel
- Filling a gap between teeth
- Painting over stains or discoloration
Bonding can be a simple fix to problems that noticeably detract from your smile, and it can be performed in a single dental visit. For its lasting cosmetic benefits, the cost and time of a bonding procedure are well worth it.
What Are Porcelain Veneers?
Porcelain veneers are thin, semi-translucent layers that cover the front surface of your teeth. By matching the porcelain to complement the color and shape of your teeth, the veneer can blend in perfectly with the rest of your smile. The process for getting porcelain veneers is as follows:
- A fine layer of enamel will be removed from your tooth to accommodate the veneer.
- An impression will be taken of your tooth, from which the veneer will be created.
- While your porcelain veneer is crafted, you will be given a temporary veneer to wear over the tooth.
- When ready, the veneer will be positioned, any necessary final adjustments will be made, and it will be cemented onto your tooth for a lasting bond.
Candidates for Porcelain Veneers
A veneer can be used on one tooth to hide a single blemish or multiple teeth for widespread problems such as uneven or stained teeth. Because porcelain veneers cover the entire front of your teeth, they are able to conceal most cosmetic problems. Veneers are often used to correct the following issues:
- Chipped or cracked teeth
- Stains or discoloration
- Gaps between teeth
- Crooked teeth
Dental Bonding vs. Porcelain Veneers
As you may have noted, dental bonding and porcelain veneers can be used to correct similar cosmetic issues. A small chip, for instance, can be repaired through bonding or concealed with a veneer. Given your options, your dentist should help you determine which treatment will produce the best results for you.
However, veneers are sometimes able to address more significant problems, such as larger chips, stains, and gaps. They are also able to straighten your smile, a practice commonly called instant orthodontics.
Although each patient can expect different results from each procedure, porcelain tends to look more realistic and elegant than composite resin. While porcelain veneers may be more versatile, they also tend to be more expensive than a bonding procedure. Dental bonding, on the other hand, is best reserved for smaller problems in which the composite will not be easily distinguishable from the tooth.
Learn about All Your Options
Understanding the differences between these dental procedures is an excellent first step toward enhancing your teeth. Still, a consultation with your dentist is the only definitive way to ascertain an optimal treatment plan. Contact our office and set up an appointment to learn more.