“How Long Will It Last? Bonding vs. Veneers”

“Does it hurt? How long will it last? How long will it take? How much does it cost?”

These are common questions from patients looking for cosmetic dentistry.

If you’re interested in cosmetic dentistry to get yourself a winning smile, whether the problem is mis-alignment, cracked or chipping teeth, unsightly spacing, uneven or dark colored dentition, uneven or too much (or not enough) smile showing, or even gum erosion, the eternal question always arises: What would be the best solution?

In the past, crowns were the primary choice for masking tooth problems, but since the late 1980s, cosmetic dentistry has offered both bonding View definition in a new window and veneers View definition in a new window to improve your smile. This leads to the eternal question: “Bonding or veneers?”

Dental bonding involves the application of a durable composite View definition in a new window material directly to the surface of the tooth, by your dentist, which is then sculpted and artistically shaped to the exact look the patient desires, to blend naturally and seamlessly with the patient’s existing teeth. A laser (or high intensity light) is then used to cure the composite material, hardening and reinforcing it to the surface of the tooth. This bonding technique has many applications, not only for aesthetic uses but also for prosthodontics and pediatric dentistry. The advantages to dental bonding are a quick treatment time (can be completed in one office visit after a consultation), and a relatively low cost per tooth when compared with porcelain veneers. Durability of bonding will be affected by the oral environment. Since composite bonding is a mixture of quartz particle (70% – 80% filled) and resin, discoloration and breakage is inevitable if your mouth has a high acidic pH value (if you are a soda drinker, lemon lover or candy sucker), if the bonding was not supported by a solid tooth structure, or if you are a night grinder.

Porcelain veneers are fabricated in the laboratory. They are 100% filled with hard mineral particles, and are fired at a high temperature with a vacuum (to procure the best physical properties to sustain the veneer’s strength in the harsh oral environment). Compared to bonding, there is more procedural work involved with porcelain veneers. There are different techniques to fabricate the veneer pieces (which call for different methods of preparation for the tooth); the pressing technique produces a stronger veneer, but requires 0.8mm thickness of the veneer. The porcelain powder build-up technique can produce super thin veneers (0.3mm), which produces a very conservative look on your tooth structure, while at the same time keeping a natural silhouette. The veneer piece lays on top of the tooth structure and is similar to a press-on nail. They chemically adhere to the tooth with bonding composite cement; since porcelain is acid resistant and stronger in physical properties than composite material, this restoration provides long-term service. When getting the veneers, the first visit consists of preparation and imprints f the teeth (which might involve anesthetic View definition in a new window). After this, you will leave the office with temporary veneers which look like natural teeth. A wafer-thin veneer is then crafted out of porcelain which is seamlessly cemented to the front side of the tooth on the second visit. In addition to straightening teeth, porcelain veneers can close gaps between teeth, whiten teeth that do not respond well to bleaching View definition in a new window, and can also be used to protect damaged tooth surfaces. The advantages to porcelain veneers over bonding is that veneers are much longer lasting (and stronger) than composite bonding material.

Whether you decide to invest in dental bonding or porcelain veneers, make sure you have all work done at a reputable dentist, preferably at a practice which has its own in-house ceramic View definition in a new window lab. When ceramic work is done by an in-house lab with an in-house ceramist, any changes that need to be made to the length or color of the veneers can be done without requiring an additional office visit. Remember, the result of the cosmetic procedures are truly varied depending on the ability of the dentist, ceramist, your clinical situation and the communication between all parties involved. Do your research!

Both bonding and veneers are additive procedures, depending on the position, alignment and shape of your teeth, which is the foundation for any new restorations. This foundation will need to be in the right fundamental situation to receive restorations to result in a fabulous smile. In other words, sometimes, you do not need to do much to your own teeth before applying cosmetic restorations. It might be necessary to reduce or modify the tooth structure before anything can be added onto it to make it look perfect.

There is some risk involved with cosmetic bonding or veneers, so be cautious with any cosmetic procedure. A comprehensive evaluation of your present dental condition is absolutely necessary as a first step; blue prints of your teeth and of your prospective dental project are needed to establish clear verbal communication between all parties involved (including you), including possible mock-up or wax-up models to preview possible changes, which could avoid costly mistakes.

Do your homework: finding the right dental professional, discussing every aspect of your dental needs, understanding the pros and cons of each procedure, and making an educated decision will ensure you get the smile you’ve always wanted.


“Am I Too Old for Braces? “

If you’re older than 95, then maybe!

The mechanism of the movement is the result of remodeling of the bone that houses the teeth, the pressure on the side bone will disappear (the tension side), and new bone will deposit so the teeth can be guided to the ideal position. As long as you are healthy, there is no age limit! The most common age to receive braces is 9-12. Braces can be very effective to guide the jaws to reach one’s full potential development during the growth spurt period. If a child is diagnosed with teeth and jaw alignment problems at a younger age, an orthodontic View definition in a new window appliance can be worn to correct and aid the development of the jaw. If you missed out on braces as a teenager – or you used to wear braces previously – and you now want to do something to improve your smile or dental health (because you teeth are crooked or gaped), discuss all available options to you with your dentist or orthodontist.

Orthodontic treatment can proceed with fixed braces which can be clear (less noticeable); you can also wear a removable appliance to straighten your teeth – friendly for an adult lifestyle! There are several options depending on your own unique situation and the training background of your dentist. The popular wireless Invisalign system often works well to correct crooked teeth, and most people never notice you are wearing an appliance!

Of all the orthodontic treatment recipients in my office, 95% are adults (average age is 35). The oldest patient I have orthodontically treated was 83! Treatment periods vary from three months to two years, with an average duration of 9 months. 60% of patients choose to receive clear braces for specific bite correction, 30% choose Invisalign for correction of crooked teeth and the convenience of not having to come in and see me very often! The remaining 10% choose alternative treatment methods.

Of course, cosmetic procedures like porcelain veneers View definition in a new window or bonding View definition in a new window can be the answer to your desire of that million dollar smile, as long as the teeth which are the foundation for your cosmetic restoration are reasonably positioned and in reasonably healthy condition. This type of procedure provides instant gratification. One big caution however to this treatment method worth taking is before the alteration treatment starts, imagine you are an architect. Can you build the design of your tooth without blue prints? Proper diagnosis View definition in a new window, treatment planning, and / or wax-up and mock-up modeling are all extremely important things to be taken care of right by a trusted dental physician. If you’d like to know more about these terms, visit my YouTube channel for procedural videos, educational material and more.

Dental braces, a common orthodontic appliance used to straighten and properly align a person’s teeth to a person’s bite,  have been used for nearly a century.Whether your teeth are only slightly off-center or are quite crooked, whether you are age 6 or 106, dramatic transformations in your outward appearance can be achieved at any age through teeth straightening! Dont’ be afraid!