Dentists often combine elements of cosmetic dentistry to great effect. For example, porcelain veneers can be placed on teeth that are adjacent to those with porcelain crowns and the two are all but indistinguishable from one another. Likewise, veneers and composite bonding can also be combined if the situation calls for it.
However, a dentist must consider several factors before proceeding to place a veneer on a bonded tooth.
How Much of the Natural Tooth Remains?
This consideration comes before all others. If the composite bonding was previously placed to repair a tooth, then the amount of remaining tooth structure dictates whether veneers are the right option or not. If a large portion of the tooth; say at least 25%, is composed of composite bonding, placing a veneer may not be the best option.
As composite bonding is inferior to porcelain, lasting an average of 5-7 years compared to 10 years and often many more for porcelain veneers, placing a porcelain veneer over a large amount of bonding is not a good idea. The bonding may deteriorate long before the veneer does, compromising the aesthetics and longevity of the porcelain veneer. In this case, a porcelain crown, which is comparable in price and appearance, is the best option.
Where is the Dental Bonding Located?
If the composite bonding is limited to one area, such as a corner, edge, or the front of the tooth, a veneer can be placed over the bonding. The dentist may remove some of the bonding; however, as porcelain bonds much better to natural tooth than tooth partly composed of composite bonding.
When bonding is present on several areas of a tooth due to cavities etc, a porcelain crown is the best way to go. Not only do porcelain crowns resemble veneers in appearance, but they protect a tooth by wrapping completely around it. The only downside to placing a crown instead is that some tooth structure needs to be removed to make room for the crown.
How Prone is the Tooth to Cavities?
Veneers are primarily a cosmetic measure. They cover up imperfections and make smiles more pleasing to the eye. When teeth are prone to cavities then, as shown by previous dental work, a veneer will provide minimal protection against future decay.
Porcelains crowns on the other hand, which cost much the same, offer both protection to a cavity prone tooth, and improve its appearance in the same way that a veneer might.
Ensure that you also consider these factors when seeking to improve the appearance of your smile. Appearance is important, but if appearance can be improved along with increasing the longevity of a tooth for much the same price, then it makes sense to take that route.