Cosmetic and restorative dentistry have seen great advancements in the last twenty years. In the past, if you had a troublesome tooth it had to be removed and you would have to learn to live with that gap in your smile (fingers crossed it was a tooth in the back of the mouth that had to be removed). Missing teeth can be unattractive for sure, but they can also negatively impact your eating habits because these missing teeth make the remaining teeth pick up the slack, which in effect can cause the healthy ones to wear down and need repair as well.
At Adam Brown DDS we repair or replace bad teeth to restore the mouth, and over the years we have gotten quite good at it. This process can involve multiple procedures, including using fillings, crowns, veneers, bridges, bonding, dental implants, and even partial dentures.
The goal of restorative dentistry is to preserve natural teeth as much as possible and give you the smile you deserve. Which types of cosmetic/restorative dentistry do we encounter at Adam Brown? All sorts, but bonding and veneers are done on a regular basis, leading us to two important questions: What exactly are they, and which is better to have done?
The Benefits of Teeth Bonding
Of the plethora of cosmetic and restorative dental treatments, bonding is the one of the least invasive procedures. The act of bonding teeth does not require any tooth removal – a good thing! – as it is designed to correct minor imperfections on the face of the tooth or teeth.
Bonding is done by using a composite resin that evenly blends into the tooth so that it completely covers any stains present — even chips, cracks, or uneven spacing between the teeth. As a final touch, the resin is perfectly matched to your tooth’s shade so there is no way of telling which tooth or teeth have been bonded from those that have not been.
Bonding is perfect for patients needing repair who also suffer from sensitive teeth. It’s likely that the bonding will help with the sensitivity since the resin used will cover any exposed nerves that tend to get triggered when eating or drinking things that are hot or cold. Plus, the bonding process itself is quick and easy, not to mention it’s virtually painless.
What’s more is that bonding can actually strengthen your teeth.
After all, it makes sense that adding a thin layer of durable resin would help protect anything it covers.
This durability will also keep the bonded tooth from chipping, staining, or moving again; you shouldn’t have to worry about follow-up procedures.
The Benefits of Veneers
Like bonding, the process of adding veneers is done to cover the front surface of the tooth to hide imperfections and to keep a healthier tooth. However, unlike the resin used in bonding, veneers are made up of a special porcelain that keeps the teeth aligned. This porcelain can be perfectly matched to the coloration of your other teeth, like bonding, so there is no way of telling which teeth are natural and which are veneered.
The porcelain used is incredibly durable, especially if taken care of properly, and it will not damage your non-veneered teeth. This is a big point of sale for both bonding and veneers, as braces and even removable spacers can pose the possibility of slightly damaging teeth that are not in need of repair.
One thing people tend to like about veneers is that the care for them is minimal. Regular checkups with the dentist and a healthy regimen of flossing and brushing should be all that needs to be done.
Which To Choose: Bonding or Veneers?
Your first consideration when judging between bonding or veneers is your budget. Right off the bat, you should know veneers are going to be more expensive than bonding because veneers are more durable (porcelain beats resin in this case), meaning you need to consider the price of longevity.
Will it actually save you money in the end if you end up having the bonding redone? The best way to find the most accurate answer to this controversy is to meet with your dentist and have a conversation. He can let you know how serious your particular situation is and help you determine the ideal option.
The next consideration between veneers and bonding is the current condition of your teeth. Bonding might be your best option if your teeth or tooth in need of care are rather healthy but need alignment or a chip hidden. On the other hand, the ultra-hard shell of a veneer would be a better choice if you are dealing with discoloration and decay. Think of it like this:
Bonding provides great coverage but may wear over time; veneers provide more of a protectant barrier and should last a lifetime.
The best ways of whitening teeth are debatable, and there are always new devices or methods popping up. Take, for instance, the recent popularity of Smileactives, a whitening product that comes in a gel (with its own, special toothbrush and whitening pen). Created by Robert Montgomery, a biochemist and inventor, Smileactives touts an ability to work on all forms of teeth — whether veneered or bonded or not — to remove tough stains.
Does it work? A quick online search reveals primarily positive results, but the real question isn’t whether it works. It’s how harsh it is on your teeth.
For some of us, the chemicals used in whitening gels and toothpastes are too harsh and end up causing mouth pain. So what should you do if you have sensitive teeth?
Your first step is to come in and meet with Dr. Brown and his team. They can successfully assess your teeth and gums to forecast which method(s) might be best for you.
But, if you absolutely must start the whitening process immediately, follow these tips until you can come see us:
- Stay away from trays and gels if your teeth are indeed sensitive. The problem with this method is that it can take weeks for results to show. Plus, most people who use the tray and gels report having teeth sensitivity afterward.
- Use caution with whitening strips as well. Though results can show in about a week, this can cause irritation over time. Also, your teeth can become sensitive if you use the strips too often.
- When you have the time to wait, use paint-ons. The paint-on method solves the problem of the whitening agent interacting with interior soft tissues, such as the gums and inner cheek. You simply brush the whitening gel on each tooth and let it sit for a short period of time. The only downside to this method is it can take months before results can be seen, and you have to be diligent in getting the gel on each tooth daily.
- Whitening devices are your best option. Go ahead and do a little research and find an LED lighting kit to order — you can get them off Amazon!
When it comes to choosing between teeth bonding and veneers, it’s essential to consider the big picture. Bonding can be an excellent solution for minor cosmetic issues, while veneers may be more suitable for larger cosmetic changes and long-term durability. Ultimately, the decision is up to you, and your dentist should help you make the best choice based on your individual needs.
Both teeth bonding and veneers are care treatments that can help restore the look of your smile. Each has pros and cons, so remember to discuss these with Adam Brown DDS before making any decisions!