Q: I Want Bonding Not Veneers A: That was the request that I received from a new patient. This charming lady placed great emphasis on her oral health. She had numerous crowns and fillings present in her mouth. This comprehensive dentistry allowed her to keep her teeth. There were no gaps or spaces in her mouth. Her meticulousness with her oral care and diligence in following the advice of dental professionals was evident in her mouth. She had concerns that she wanted to address. One of them involved a cosmetic matter of worn lower front teeth. These teeth were notably eroded and discolored. She articulated a very specific request. “No veneers, only bonding “, she told me. Before we get to her specifics, it’s important to define our terms and the differences between them. The term bonding describes how a dental filling or other material attaches or is glued to a tooth. The tooth is prepared in a very specific way followed by the application of a thin liquid or glue. Once this glue is stuck to the tooth, then the filling can be attached to the tooth. Stated another way, the filling is bonded to the tooth. Bonding can occur against a flat surface. The tooth does not require drilling holes or extensive cutting for the bonding to work. We can bond fillings to a tooth. We can also bond veneers to a tooth. A veneer is a cosmetic covering that is attached firmly to a tooth. The veneer is bonded or glued to the tooth via the mechanism that I just described. So, if these are really apples and oranges, as they don’t apply to the same thing, what was my patient asking me? She was referring to how we cover the tooth. Do we bond a pre-made covering, called a veneer or do we layer a filling material on the tooth and secure it with the bonding technique? Both covers are bonded or glued to the tooth. Her request centered around what we bond to the tooth. The original cosmetic coverings were special filling material that we applied to the tooth. Pre-made covers known as veneers came later as they were easier and faster for the dentist to apply. After examining her, I saw that she really was not a candidate or either procedure. She ground and wore down her front teeth so intensely that there was no room to place either without changing her bite. Every time that she would close her mouth, she would bump into the bonding or veneers first. Her back teeth would not touch. I needed to create space for front teeth to bite properly and solve her cosmetic concerns. As we get up in years, the lower front teeth become much more prominent and our eyes focus on these teeth. In our teenage years and for a decade or so after that we may not see these teeth at all. Past that point the lower teeth become more visibly prominent. We went on to discuss a chronic issue that she was facing and left the cosmetics for another time. I will address this with her in the future and stop the continual wear on those teeth. Suffice it to say that when it comes to a tooth wearing away, we can be our own worst enemy. Modern dentistry has a variety of solutions to help people faced with this issue. It’s important to note that we can’t focus on that issue in a vacuum. It must be considered in the scope of the entire mouth. If you see something in your mouth that just doesn’t appear to be right or an area has changed significantly over time, please contact us so that we can discuss it. Call Megan at 440.951.7856 and set up a complementary consultation. Together we can explore options to help you and your oral health. I look forward to meeting you.
Jeffrey Gross, DDS, FAGD is an Ohio licensed general dentist and is on the staff of Case Western Reserve School of Dental Medicine. The Healthy Smile 34586 Lakeshore Boulevard (¼ mile west of Route 91 on Lakeshore Blvd) Eastlake, Ohio 44095 440-951-7856 Severance Medical Arts, Suite 603 5 Severance Center Cleveland Heights, Ohio 44118 216-371-2333 www.jeffreygrossdds.com