Veneers vs. Bonding: What’s the Difference?

Veneers vs Bonding

Veneers and bonding can be used to fix cavities and broken teeth and can also improve the look of healthy teeth. Bonding is applied to a smaller portion of the tooth, and veneers are applied to the entire surface. Both veneers and bonding can make the teeth look better by changing the shape, angle, or spacing.


Bonding can be a painless way to make any minor repairs to a tooth. In many cases, quite a few teeth can be bonded in just one visit. The process uses a tooth-colored material called composite resin. The material is put on the teeth and then shaped. The final step is that the material is hardened with light. Composite resin will be made to match your teeth, shaped to look like a missing part of a chipped tooth, or used on a broken tooth to fix its size.

The process begins with a dentist placing a matrix between the tooth that is behind worked on and the neighboring tooth. This is a transparent plastic film that will protect the other teeth from any stray composite resin. The dentist places a mild chemical on the tooth to make it rough. This will help the composite resin stick better. The dentist then puts on the composite resin in layers. A light is used to harden each layer. After the last layer is complete, the dentist will polish and shape the tooth. The finished tooth will look smooth and natural. Over time, bonding can wear down, and the dentist may need to make touch-ups.


Veneers are thin shells attached to the front part of the tooth. They can be made of composite resin or porcelain. Porcelain ones will be stronger but will usually take two visits to complete. Porcelain veneers will also last longer than composite resin.

The process for composite resin veneers is similar to bonding. The dentist applies a material to roughen up the tooth and applies the composite resin in layers. With porcelain veneers, the procedure is a bit different. The dentist can give you a local anesthetic and then will remove a thin layer of the enamel in order to make room for the veneers. The dentist also makes a mold of the teeth. The mold is then used to custom make the veneers. In the meantime, the dentist can place a temporary veneer to replace the portion of the tooth that was removed. The temporary veneers are fragile and should be treated gently since they can come loose easily. On the second visit, the dentist removes the temporary veneers, puts a chemical on the teeth to roughen them up just like with composite resin, and then the porcelain veneers are glued to the teeth one by one.

Not everyone may be the right candidate for veneers. If your tooth doesn’t have much enamel left, then a veneer may not stick correctly. Veneers need to be flossed and brushed daily, and if they aren’t sealed onto the teeth, cavities and stains can form underneath. Once you have veneers, you are not able to reverse the treatment. Veneers are also seen as a long term solution compared to bonding, especially since bonding tends to stain easier. Porcelain veneers can retain their look for up to 20 years if maintained properly.

Your dentist will be able to help you determine which solution would be correct for you. It is possible that neither a veneer or bonding is the right fit and propose a different solution altogether.

If you’re looking for a cosmetic solution today, contact our dental office in Edmonton for an appointment by clicking here.


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