Sometimes in dentistry there are a couple of ways of achieving a similar aesthetic result. Bonding with tooth colored composites or cementing on porcelain veneers are two such techniques that can be used to fix the size and shape of teeth. Deciding which method to use can be confusing because there are advantages and disadvantages to each.

Bonding with tooth colored composites is a relatively inexpensive, reversible procedure that can be used to fix chipped teeth or to close gaps between teeth. In order to bond composite to the tooth surface, the tooth is micro-etched, a bonding agent is light cured to the surface, and then the composite material to light cured over the bonding agent. This is usually a completely additive process and it is done directly in the office. The general cost for this procedure is between $150 and $500 per tooth, depending on the size of the restoration required.

Porcelain veneers are a more costly procedure involving two appointments about two weeks apart. Teeth are slightly prepared to accommodate the size of a porcelain shell, an impression of the prepared teeth is taken, and a dental laboratory makes a thin layers of porcelain for each tooth. The veneers are permanently cemented to the teeth. The cost for a porcelain veneer ranges anywhere from $1000 to $2000 per tooth, depending on the dental office.

Basically, if teeth have small chips or gaps, but no other issues, then bonding with composites makes good economic and long term sense for the health of the tooth. However, if the teeth have color, rotation, or crowding issues, then porcelain veneers allow for more flexibility and better aesthetic results. Porcelain veneers can be used in nearly any instance that bonding would be appropriate. Bonding cannot fix all the things that veneers can transform. To know which would work best for you, collaborate with your dentist!

Kari Ann Hong, DDS
1000 Newbury Road, Suite 190
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320