In the right hands, both veneers and bonding can transform a tooth that is too small into one that matches your other natural teeth. However, although on the surface they may appear similar, there are some important differences that you should take into account before choosing one or the other.
Bonding Before Veneers
Composite bonding, a resin which contains both plastic and glass, can precede porcelain veneers. In other words, you could treat a peg lateral with composite bonding now and later replace the bonding with veneers. Your dentist will simply remove the bonding and perhaps a little enamel and then put a veneer in its place.
However, the opposite is usually not true for veneers. In order to place porcelain veneers, cosmetic dentists often need to remove some of the enamel from the sides of a tooth, even a small tooth. Placing composite bonding on a peg lateral that previously had a veneer then, is inadvisable because bonding is weaker than both enamel and porcelain, and it will eventually wear down.
Veneers Are More Attractive
Porcelain veneers are considered by most to be more attractive than composite bonding. For instance, porcelain picks up the light better than bonding. Porcelain veneers are also painstakingly created in a laboratory to appear the same in shape, size and colour as the rest of your teeth.
This doesn't mean that veneers are always more attractive. In the hands of an experienced dentist, bonding can be equal or even superior to porcelain.
Time Takes Its Toll
Composite bonding is slightly porous, more so than porcelain or enamel. This means that bonding stains more easily. A patient whose diet is heavy in staining foods and drinks, such as red wine and pasta sauce, is likely to stain their composite bonding at a much faster rate.
Veneers can last for 10 years or more. Composite bonding tends to last a few years, but in some cases, it can fail quickly.
If you plan to choose bonding over veneers, remember that your diet and habits will affect the lifespan of your bonding. Patients who brush their teeth every day, keep staining foods to a minimum and refrain from smoking could extend the life of their dental bonding by years.
Porcelain veneers are much stronger than composite bonding, look better, and are more stain resistant. However, they are also much more expensive. The strength of composite bonding is that it is inexpensive and a good option for those who cannot currently afford veneers. Later, that bonding can be easily replaced with porcelain veneers.
Contact your dentist to learn more about your options.