The appearance of your smile affects everything in your life, from your relationships to your career. Perceptions matter, and having straight teeth and a great smile is a big part of that. There are many options for fixing your teeth that fall under the realm of cosmetic dentistry. Two of the options – dental veneers and dental bonding – are procedures that fix broken or chipped teeth and offer a great aesthetic solution to your smile.
What are Dental Veneers?
A dental veneer attaches to the front of your teeth and is made of a customized porcelain material that matches the color of the surrounding teeth. Unlike painful dental procedures that can improve the appearance of teeth, a veneer is like a “cap” or a semi-translucent shell over the tooth that adjusts the shape and color of the tooth.
Veneers fix many common aesthetic problems in teeth such as:
- Spaces between teeth
- Chipped or broken teeth
- Teeth that have become stained or discolored
- Misshapen or crooked teeth
A veneer can be a subtle change or a dramatic one depending on your goals. In most cases, a dental veneer can be applied in just two office visits. Typically, a patient is fitted for their veneer and has a temporary one bonded for the tooth. Then, after the veneer comes back from the lab in the desired shape and color, the dental team adheres the final veneer to the tooth.
Although rare, the dentist may decide to send your veneer back to the lab to adjust the veneer color before putting the final veneer on. If this happens, you can expect to visit the office again at a later date and keep the temporary veneer on longer.
What is Dental Bonding?
Composite dental bonding is a quick process where a plastic or resin is bonded to the tooth to improve the appearance. While not as long-lasting as a veneer or a dental crown, a composite bond provides the same aesthetic advantages and can repair chipped or cracked teeth; reduce gaps or spaces between teeth; and hide discolored tooth surfaces. Like a dental veneer, the bonding material of a composite bonded tooth can be made to match the surrounding teeth, leading to a more natural look.
One thing to keep in mind with composite bonding, however, is that along with being less durable, it can stain easily and requires proper care and cleaning. Regular brushing and flossing should already be part of every patient’s hygiene schedule, but avoiding foods and candy that stain teeth as well as beverages like coffee and tea will keep the bonded material looking its best.
How can you know if a dental veneer or bonding is right for you? A dental veneer may be a good solution for you if the following applies:
- You want a more durable solution to your cosmetic dental needs
- You don’t mind paying a little extra for better dental materials
- You have the ability to visit the office more than once for the procedure
- You are comfortable with maintaining your veneer just like your other teeth
Dental bonding may be the right cosmetic dentistry procedure for you if the following applies to your situation:
- You want a quick, less expensive solution to your cosmetic dentist needs
- You would prefer to visit the office once as opposed to multiple times to achieve your desired smile
- You are comfortable with avoiding or minimizing eating teeth-staining foods or beverages like coffee and tea
- You will commit to taking care of your composite bonded teeth like any other teeth, including brushing and flossing
At Little Rock Family Dental, we offer a wide range of cosmetic dentistry services to fit any budget. Contact us today to schedule your appointment and improve your smile!