The Difference Between Veneers and Bonding

The Difference Between Veneers and Bonding

Veneers and bonding both do a great job of brightening your smile by covering unattractive problems like discolored teeth. But the two procedures aren’t the same, and their differences can help you choose the one that’s best for you.

Linda Kay Nichols, DMD, has years of experience applying veneers and dental bonding, creating results that make her patients proud to smile. Here, she explains the basic procedures and the differences between the two cosmetic procedures.

Different materials and procedures

The biggest difference between veneers and bonding is the materials used and how they’re applied.


A veneer is a thin piece of porcelain that covers the front of your tooth. With standard veneers, we remove a tiny amount of tooth enamel to make room for the veneer. We also offer LumineersⓇ, which are so thin, they go on top of the existing tooth.


Dental bonding, also called direct bonding, uses a composite resin to improve the appearance of your teeth. We place the putty-like resin on the tooth, and then mold it into the desired shape. Then we expose the treated tooth to a special light that hardens the resin while bonding it to your tooth.

Cosmetic problems disappear

Veneers and bonding both:

However, the severity of your cosmetic problem may make a difference. Bonding is generally considered better for minor to moderate problems, while the strength of a porcelain veneer makes it the best choice for more extreme cracks, chips, gaps, and stains.

Details make a difference

Sometimes deciding between veneers and bonding comes down to details such as the following:


The porcelain used in veneers and resin in bonding are both tinted to match your existing teeth. Both look great. The difference is that porcelain more closely resembles the translucence of your natural enamel.


Porcelain is made of materials that resist staining. On the other hand, resin will gradually stain like your natural enamel.

Number of visits

You need several office visits for veneers, but only one for direct bonding. No matter which one you choose, we first do a thorough checkup to be sure your teeth and gums are healthy. For example, we would not apply either one over a cavity; we repair the tooth first.

Depending on any work you may need, we can start the veneer or bonding process at the same visit. Direct bonding is completed in one visit.

By comparison, veneers require several trips to the office. We need to prepare the outer tooth, take an impression or digital image, and send the information to a dental lab that makes the veneer. When the veneer is ready, you come back to the office to have it cemented to your tooth.


The overall longevity of veneers and bonding depends on your daily dental care. However, resin isn’t as strong as porcelain, and that affects how long your treatment lasts. As a general guideline, resin bonding typically lasts up to 10 years, while porcelain veneers may have up to double the lifespan.


We go over all the costs with you during your checkup, but bonding is less expensive than veneers. Resin costs less and the bonding procedure takes less time, which helps keep your costs down compared to porcelain veneers.

If you need help deciding the best way to improve your smile, call our office in Albuquerque, New Mexico, or book an appointment online today.

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