Veneers are thin pieces of porcelain or plastic glued to the front of your teeth. For severely discolored, misshapen or chipped teeth, they create a durable and pleasing smile. Veneers are difficult to stain, making them popular for people seeking a perfect smile.
There are two types of veneers:
- Porcelain (indirect) veneers, which must first be created to fit your teeth in a dental laboratory and require two visits to the dentist. Porcelain veneers last from 10 to 15 years or more
- Composite (direct) veneers, in which enamel is bonded to your tooth in a single visit. Composite veneers cost significantly less but only last five to seven years
Bonding uses composite resin to restore broken or chipped teeth, fill in gaps and reshape or recolor your smile. After applying a very mild etching solution that slightly roughs the surface of your teeth and permits the bonding material to adhere, your dentist applies the resin and sculpts, colors and shapes it to provide a pleasing result. A high-intensity light hardens the material, which is then finely polished.
Many people choose bonding over silver fillings because it looks more natural — the material can be matched to your natural tooth color.