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Stains on our teeth are a common occurrence and can be due to poor dental hygiene, any trauma to teeth, certain medications, foods we eat and drink and so on.
Regular visits to a dentist are regular brushing and flossing can prevent teeth stains.
There are many whitening systems available that can be used to remove stains.
However, not everyone can undergo them.
Those who have fillings, caps or crowns on their teeth may need to use other ways to improve the appearance of their teeth like dental bonding and veneers.
What are Dental Bonding and Veneers?
Dental bonding method is used to restore broken or chipped teeth, reshape teeth, recolor the surface or fill gaps in teeth. A composite resin is used on the teeth after applying an etching solution.
This roughens the surface of the teeth and helps the resin to adhere to the teeth.
After applying the resin, the dentist will use tools to reshape and mold the resin and then color it to provide a natural look.
Finally, a high power light is passed on the resin and this hardens it after which a final polishing and reshaping is done.
Each tooth requires a 30minutes – 1 hour to be bonded. Sometimes, if many teeth need to be treated, several visits maybe required.
Veneers use thin pieces of plastic or porcelain on the front of teeth.
It is used for deeply stained teeth, or for broken and misshapen teeth.
It is extremely durable and long lasting. Of the two types, porcelain or indirect veneers need to be first created and then fitted to teeth. It requires 2 sittings.
The other type is direct or composite veneer in which enamel pieces can be bonded directly to teeth in a single visit. While the former lasts for 10-15 years, the latter lasts for only 5-7 years.
Porcelain veneers resemble natural teeth more closely and can resist stains better.
Resin veneers on the other hand are thinner and less of the tooth’s surface needs to be scraped off before they are applied.
Before porcelain veneers are used, the dentist could administer a local anesthetic, scrapes off the surface of the enamel and places a temporary veneer
. A mold is used and custom-made porcelain veneers are made and fitted after applying a mild chemical to make then adhere well to the teeth.
Finally composite resin cement is used to glue the porcelain veneers in place.
Composite resin veneers are similar to bonding. The dentist selects the resin that best matches your teeth color.
He or she then applies a mild chemical on the tooth to roughen it, applies the resin in layers, passing a bright light as each layer is applied.
This hardens each layer.
After the final layer has hardened, the dentist will shape and polish the resin to make it look smooth and natural.
When are they Used?
Dental bonding is used to:
- repair decayed, cracked or chipped teeth
- improve the appearance of stained teeth
- close gaps between teeth
- give an appearance of longer teeth by changing the shape of teeth
- used as an alternative procedure to amalgam fillings
- helps protect roots that have been exposed by receding gums
Dental veneers are used for:
- Teeth discolored due to staining from drugs like tetracycline, stains caused after a root canal treatment, excess fluoride use or previous use of resin fillings that have caused discoloration.
- Worn out teeth
- Broken or chipped teeth
- Irregular, misshapen or misaligned teeth
- Gaps between teeth
Advantages, limitations, and costs
Unlike some other cosmetic dental procedures, dental bonding is relatively inexpensive.
It can be completed with one visit to the dentist, unlike crowns and veneers that need to have a custom fit and require more sittings. The patient does not require anesthesia unless a cavity is to be filled.
Less tooth enamel is scraped off in this procedure when compared to crowns and veneers. It is a useful procedure for correcting minor cosmetic defects and corrects.
It is also the best way to correct biting pressure of front teeth.
Dental veneers are advantageous because when completed, they give a natural appearance. They do not cause gum irritation or inflammation.
Porcelain veneers resist stains very well.
The patient can choose the exact color of the porcelain veneer to give the best cosmetic appearance.
They do not require an extensive reshaping of teeth and are considered a stronger and more visually appealing way of eliminating teeth stains.
Dental bonding is not long lasting, not as strong and it cannot resist stains as well as
As crowns and veneers. The bonding material can also easily break off teeth.
Veneers are very expensive procedures and cannot be reversed once done. It cannot be repaired if it cracks or chips.
Sensitivity to hot and cold foods may increase since enamel has been completely removed. It may be difficult to match the color of your natural teeth and whitening procedures cannot be done on them. Tooth decay can occur.
Bonded teeth – Good oral hygiene – brush twice and floss once to maintain bonded teeth.
Regular visits to the dentist for cleaning can also maintain dental bonding.
Since the material is not very strong, it is good to avoid habits that can chip away teeth like chewing ice, pens, fingernails, hard foods, hard objects and such.
If you find the edges have become chipped and sharp, go to the dentist. With good care, dental bonding can last for 3-10 years before it requires replacement.
To minimize staining the resin avoid smoking and consuming too much of tea or coffee. Doctors will advise you not to consuming foods that will stain for 48 hours after the procedure.
Veneers – Good oral hygiene and avoiding foods that stain are all that is needed to take care of veneers. Do not bite on hard objects like nails, pencils or ice to prevent chipping and cracking.
Those who have the habit of grinding or clenching teeth, those who have excess gum disease, weakened teeth or extremely worn out enamel may not be able to use dental veneers.
Dental bonding varies in cost from $100-$400 for each tooth. The cost depends on where a person lives. Some insurance companies may cover the cost of dental bonding.
Dental veneers are very expensive costing anywhere from $500-$1300 per tooth. Insurance usually does not cover this procedure.
Your dentist is the best-qualified person to assess the extent of staining and damage to your teeth and recommend which procedure is best for you,