Veneers and bonding: What is the difference?

Posted by Dr. Soto May 11, 2018

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Hopefully, you know how important it is to maintain healthy teeth. Brushing, flossing, and seeing your dentist on average every 6 months for a professional cleaning and exam are essential steps to take for your total oral health. But if your teeth don’t look or feel quite the way you wish they did, you may consider cosmetic dentistry. A bright, even smile can make a huge difference in your appearance and confidence. Both veneers and bonding are used to improve the cosmetic appearance of teeth, but what is the difference?


Veneers are thin, porcelain shells fitted to cover the entire front of your tooth. They can change the whole appearance of your smile, and are used to cover chips, correct gaps and slight misalignments, cover up stains, and change the shape of the face of the tooth.

The application of veneers usually requires the removal of a thin amount of the surface material before your dentist takes an impression of your teeth. The impression is sent to a special lab where custom veneers are created for your unique teeth. Your dentist then applies the veneers to your teeth with a long-lasting adhesive. Your veneers usually require three appointments with your dentist and the application is normally a few weeks after your initial visit.


Tooth bonding can be done in one short visit. It is especially useful for emergencies, such as a chipped tooth from a fall. Bonding material is the same as what your dentist uses for tooth-colored fillings for cavities. The material can be molded to cover imperfections, protect the root of the tooth in the case of gum recession, or lengthen a tooth. Your dentist will match the color of the surrounding teeth. Unlike veneers, bonding is not appropriate for changing the appearance of your whole smile.

Pros and Cons

Veneers are certainly the best long-term solution for a beautiful smile. The porcelain material is translucent and looks like a real tooth. They can last 10-20 years or more. The surface of veneers will not stain. Bonding is opaque and can appear a little different than a natural tooth. It lasts on average about 3-5 years. Bonded teeth can stain from things like coffee, tea, or smoking cigarettes. On the other hand, bonding is much more affordable than veneers. Depending on your needs and schedule, the three+ visits needed for veneers may not be possible. Bonding can be done in one visit, and offers an excellent solution when you have an emergency. For both veneers and bonding, care must be taken not to chip or scratch the surface of the teeth. Neither material is as strong as enamel, so you should skip using your teeth to crack nuts or eat ice, for example.

If you live in Broward County, Florida, Dr. Ernie Soto can help you achieve the beautiful smile of your dreams. For a consultation, call (954) 368-6264 for an appointment today. We are experts in cosmetic dentistry and look forward to giving you a smile you are proud to show off.

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