COMPOSITE BONDING VS VENEERS: PICKING THE RIGHT CHOICE FOR YOU

With the many improvements cosmetic dentistry has gotten, more and more people are looking to get great teeth for that picture-perfect smile. There are many options a cosmetic dentist provides such as teeth whitening, implants, dental veneers, composite bonding, and lots more.

Two of the more popular options for damaged teeth are composite bonding and dental veneers. They both work by covering up damaged teeth or odd-looking teeth and disguising flaws with the bonding of foreign substances to the teeth. They can correct defects like chipped, misaligned, or smaller-than-average teeth and uneven spacing.

The beginning of the craft called “Cosmetic Dentistry” can be traced back to the invention of laminate veneers in the 1980s. They were originally designed as temporary solutions that worked by placing thin porcelain handcrafted coverings over the teeth to improve their overall appearance.

In truth, it was initially designed to enhance a tooth without reduction of the tooth itself. However, because the porcelain was required to be thick to be durable and prevent fracturing (as porcelain in thin section is very brittle), this meant that it often resulted in teeth looking thicker than desired and that the gum health suffered due to the porcelain being too bulky and being a trap for plaque bacteria. And so veneers became a permanent, delicate procedure that involved teeth ‘preparation’.

However, the concept of ‘same-day orthodontists’ began to grow in popularity because straightening crooked teeth using veneers required heavy tooth reduction. This resulted in tooth structure being lost permanently, putting the nerves of the teeth at risk and sometimes leading to root canal treatments as an unfortunate side effect.

Composite resin began to look like a very nice offer. It involved using composite resin which is a white filling material to completely cover or add to teeth to improve a smile. It can be used in place of veneers so that similar smile results can be gotten with less stress.

COMPOSITE BONDING

The composite bonding procedure is a quick one requiring only one or two visits to the cosmetic dentist.

The procedure usually begins with the dentist cleaning your teeth thoroughly in preparation for the application of the resin. A very thin layer of enamel might have to be removed in severe cases, however, teeth don’t need to be cut if only minor shape and color changes are needed.

Before the material is added, your teeth will be lightly etched (that is roughened) to aid the adhesion.

After that, adhesive glue will be added to your teeth to help the composite resin material stick to your teeth. Finally, very thin layers of the composite resin are added to the tooth surface while being molded into the ideal shape.

The cosmetic dentist will then cure (i.e quickly harden) the layers of the resin with a special high-intensity light. If needed, you will receive further trimming and shaping to perfect the appearance. After one last polish, the work is done.

You should select a shade of white that is just right for you so the teeth look natural.

VENEERS

The application of dental veneers is an intensive procedure that requires at least three appointments with the dentist. The first appointment is usually a consultation where you tell the cosmetic dentist what you want and an X-ray scan of your teeth is taken to see if you’re eligible for the procedure.

In the second appointment, a mold or impression of your teeth is taken which will be sent to the laboratory where the veneers will be custom-made. This process usually takes about two to four (2-4) weeks.

To prepare your teeth for the procedure, your teeth are also to be reshaped in an amount that is nearly equal to the thickness of the veneers that are to be bonded to the affected teeth. This is done by trimming down your tooth surface (the enamel) using a grinding device.

In the final appointment, the veneers are applied to your teeth. It will be continuously placed on your tooth to check the fit and coloring while it is being trimmed to achieve a perfect fit. After this, the tooth surface will be polished, cleaned, and roughened before bonding cement is then applied to the veneer, which is in turn placed on your tooth. Once it is properly positioned, a special light beam will be shined on the cement to activate the chemicals, thus hardening it very quickly.

Lastly, excess cement will be removed,  your bite will be checked, and it will be ascertained if you need any adjustments. You may be asked by your dentist to return for a follow-up visit in a couple of weeks to check your gums and the veneer placement.

CHOOSING BETWEEN COMPOSITE BONDING AND VENEERS

The ability of composite resins to mimic natural shiny tooth enamel has improved greatly over the past few years. The materials can in some cases look as good, and sometimes better than porcelain veneers. It does not normally require a dental ceramic technician to construct the veneer and therefore saves both the patient and dentist, time and money. Composite veneers are usually about 50% less in investment cost compared to porcelain veneers. It is therefore widely regarded as ‘cheaper’ and ‘less invasive’.

However, it stains over time and is less biologically compatible with the gums. It tends to collect bacteria and causes inflammation of the gums much more readily than porcelain veneers.

Porcelain veneers, in a stable and gentle bite, can last twenty years before needing to be replaced. Composite veneers might need to be refurbished or indeed completely replaced after only three to four years.

Some things you should consider when trying to make your decision are your budget and the skill of the dentist.

Mostly, it depends on your personal preference. It is, however, important to discuss all options carefully before making your decision.

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