A dental tool holding up a porcelain veneer

Porcelain Veneers or Bonding for Chipped Teeth?

I asked my dentist for porcelain veneers in June because my old bonding on two chipped front teeth was worn out. My dentist said she preferred to replace the dental bonding rather than grind my teeth down for porcelain veneers. It made sense to me at the time. So I agreed to the bonding, and when my dentist finished, I could see that it did not match my teeth, which she.

My dentist assured me that she would correct the bonding color and gap, so I returned two weeks later. I did not notice any improvement. I talked to my dentist about my disappointment, and again, she promised to correct it. But I have not rescheduled the appointment because I do not trust her, and I am thinking about finding a dentist for porcelain veneers. Is switching dentists the right thing to do? Also, is there anything wrong with asking for veneers, or should I let another dentist try bonding again? Thanks in advance for your suggestions. Toni from Maine


Thank you for your question. Your experience shows that it is unlikely that your dentist can match your bonding to your tooth color. Dentists who use bonding must understand how to manipulate color to achieve a perfect match for your teeth. And hand application of the material makes bonding even more challenging. Still, a trained cosmetic dentist with an artistic eye can achieve beautiful results.

Dental Bonding vs. Porcelain Veneers

Both dental bonding and porcelain veneers will conceal chipped teeth. How do they compare?

Dental bonding

  • Material – Composite can beautifully match tooth color, translucence, and gloss.
  • Application – A cosmetic dentist applies bonding by hand directly on your teeth and layers and sculpts them to achieve natural-looking results.
  • Longevity – If you take good care of it, bonding can last about five years. But it will stain over time.

Porcelain veneers

A dental tool holding up a porcelain veneer
  • Material – Porcelain is more durable than tooth enamel, and like dental bonding, beautifully matches natural teeth. Cosmetic dentists work with artistic ceramists to produce natural-looking veneers.
  • Application – After conservative tooth preparation, a dentist will bond a veneer to each affected tooth.
  • Longevity – Veneers can last eight to twenty years, depending on their quality and how well you take care of them.

Your dentist explained that she prefers bonding over grinding down your teeth for porcelain veneers. But porcelain veneers only require light tooth preparation—if any. So, it seems that your dentist also does not understand the porcelain veneers process. We recommend scheduling an appointment with a trained cosmetic dentist to discuss your options for concealing your chipped front teeth.

The cosmetic dentists at Burba Dental Partners of Salem, Massachusetts, sponsor this post. Please read what our doctors do to provide some of the best dental care in the Boston area.