If you have a chip or fractured teeth, misalignment, or gaps between your teeth you would like to fill, there are several options your dentist may recommend. Dental bonding and porcelain veneers are two popular approaches that can lead to a similar result of cosmetically repairing your smile. Both cosmetic bonding and veneers can be used to cover just one single tooth, or many teeth that need repaired. Here is a quick discussion of the differences between dental bonding procedures and veneers to help clarify your options.


A dental veneer is an artificial cover that is applied to the front of the tooth. Veneers are usually made of porcelain which makes them durable and stain resistant. Veneers are a more permanent solution and on average can last somewhere between 5-20 years. However, some preparation is involved prior to installing veneers. This prep can include filing down the current teeth to make it easier for the cover to be applied. There is a veneer option where no preparation is required, but this may not always be an option available to you. Most veneers are custom made in a dental laboratory separate from your dentist, therefore prior to the installation, a comprehensive exam will need to take place and measurements will be taken.

Dental Bonding

Cosmetic dental bonding is a procedure where a composite material is matched to your tooth color and then applied to the teeth where it will harden and be shined to match your teeth. A very minimal preparation is required where your teeth are roughened a bit to make it easier for the bonding to be applied. Unlike the porcelain veneers, bonding material can break down over time and the material can stain from drinking coffee or tea, or using nicotine. Bonding usually lasts between 3-10 years and is not as durable as a real tooth. Bonding is a great non-invasive option for filling cracks and chips as the entire tooth is not covered with the composite, and the treatment can be completed in a routine dental visit. However, bonding cannot be used to fix vertical fractures in the teeth. Different from a veneer that is made in a lab outside of your dentist’s office, the bonding is customized in your mouth and the end result is based on the expertise of your dentist.

Choosing between cosmetic bonding or veneers to improve your smile is a decision that is based on your oral health, your specific dental needs, and the expertise of your dentist. Porcelain veneers are a more permanent and durable way to enhance your smile. But veneers are also an investment and may be more than you need for a more minor repair to one tooth. Dental bonding may be a good choice for a quick fix but will not last as long and may stain over time. When making a final decision you should discuss with your dentist what is the best option for you both in the short term, but also for the long term. Over a 10-20-year period, several bonding treatments may result in the same price as wisely investing in veneers up front.

Interesting in learning more about dental bonding? Learn about how bonding can fix gaps between teeth