Cosmetic dental treatments like bonding and veneers can not only fix cavities or broken teeth, but also can improve the look of healthy teeth. Veneers cover the entire front surface of the tooth, whereas bonding covers a smaller portion of the tooth. Bonding and veneers make your teeth look better by changing their colour, shape, angle, or spacing. Dr. Hanson can fix teeth that are broken, chipped, or cracked, that have spaces between them or discolouration. Bonding and veneers can improve your smile and give you more confidence.
What is bonding?
Bonding, also known as bonded restoration, is a painless way to make minor repairs to teeth. In most cases, Dr. Hanson can bond several teeth in one visit. Bonding uses tooth-coloured material, called composite resin. Dr. Hanson applies the composite resin to the tooth, and then shapes and hardens it with light. The composite resin can be:
- Shaped to look like the missing part of a chipped tooth
- Used to build up teeth and fill spaces between them
- Painted over a stained tooth to make it match the colour of your other teeth
How does bonding work?
Dr. Hanson places a matrix between the tooth he is treating and its neighbouring tooth. A matrix is a thin, clear plastic film that protects other teeth from stray composite resin.
Dr. Hanson then puts a mild chemical on the tooth to make it a little rough. This helps the composite resin to bond or stick to the enamel of your tooth. He chooses the composite resin that matches the colour of your natural teeth so that the bonding blends in. Dr. Hanson then applies composite resin on your tooth in layers and uses a light to harden each layer. After the last layer is hardened, he shapes and polishes it. The finished tooth looks natural and smooth. At your next visit, Dr. Hanson will examine the bonding and polish it if needed. Over time, the bonding may wear down and Dr. Hanson may touch it up with more composite resin.
What are veneers?
Veneers are very thin shells that attach to the front part of teeth. They are often made of porcelain or composite resin. Porcelain veneers are stronger than composite resin veneers and do not change colour or stain. Porcelain veneers usually take at least 2 dental visits to apply and composite resin veneers can be done in 1 visit. Porcelain veneers generally last longer than composite resin veneers.
How are composite resin veneers done?
Much like bonding, your dentist puts a mild chemical on the front surface of the tooth to make it a little rough and help the composite resin stick to the enamel. Dr. Hanson chooses the composite resin that matches the colour of your natural teeth so that it blends in. He then puts the composite resin on your tooth in layers and uses bright light to harden each layer. After the last layer of composite resin is hard, Dr. Hanson shapes and polishes it to form a natural-looking and smooth tooth.
How are porcelain veneers done?
With porcelain veneers, Dr. Hanson may give you a local anesthetic (freezing). Dr. Hanson then removes a thin layer of the enamel from your teeth to make room for the veneers. Then he makes a mold of your teeth, which is used to custom-make your porcelain veneers. In the meantime, he may place temporary veneers until your porcelain veneers are ready. The temporary veneers are very fragile and you must treat them gently during eating and cleaning as they can come loose very easily.
At your next visit, Dr. Hanson removes the temporary veneers and puts a mild chemical on your teeth to make them a little rough in order for the porcelain veneers to stick better. He then glues the porcelain veneers to your teeth one by one, using composite resin cement.
Who can get veneers?
Not everyone is a good candidate for veneers. Here are some reasons why Dr. Hanson may suggest treatments other than veneers:
- If a tooth has decay or is in an area with periodontal disease (gum disease)
- If a tooth has little enamel left, a veneer will not stick to it properly.
- If too much of the tooth is missing, a crown may be another option.
- If a person grinds or clenches their teeth this is called bruxism and can chip or break veneers.