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Bonding Vs. Partial Veneers For Fixing A Minor Chip In Your Tooth: Which Is The Best Option For You?

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Minor chips in teeth are fairly common, and they're usually caused by doing something with your teeth that you're not supposed to, such as opening bottles or biting down hard on ice. They're typically not painful, as only the enamel is chipped. The chip doesn't go deep enough to expose the pulp or the tooth's root. However, they can sometimes make your tooth more sensitive.

For minor chips, bonding and partial veneers are both good options to protect your tooth and restore its natural appearance. To help you decide which chipped tooth treatment is the right choice for you, read on for some information about bonding and partial veneers along with their upsides and downsides.


When you have a chipped tooth bonded, a composite resin is applied to the chipped area and then shaped to look like your natural tooth. A high-powered ultraviolet light is then used on the composite resin to dry it out very quickly, creating a tight seal between the resin and your tooth.

Bonding is a very quick and inexpensive option to repair minor chips, but it does have downsides. The first is that it can be difficult to color-match the composite resin with your natural teeth. It may appear darker or lighter than the surrounding tooth. This means that bonding is sometimes noticeable when used to repair large chips or if you're using it to repair a chip on one of your front teeth.

The other downside of bonding is that the composite resin isn't as strong as enamel. Grinding or clenching your teeth can wear away at the resin, changing its shape. Even chewing can put considerable stress on the resin.

Partial Veneers

Partial veneers are made of porcelain, and they're milled by a machine in order to create a perfect replacement for the chip in your tooth. At your first appointment with your dentist, he or she will take multiple pictures of your chipped tooth and then send them to a laboratory, who will fabricate the partial veneer to replace your chip. At your second appointment, the partial veneer will be cemented to your natural tooth and then quickly dried using ultraviolet light. This part of the procedure is not too different from bonding.

Since partial veneers are made of porcelain, they're much stronger than the composite resin used in bonding. You can expect a partial veneer to last much longer than bonded resin. However, you still have to care for it. Porcelain is still not quite as strong as enamel. Avoid chewing on ice or non-food objects such as pens. If you grind or clench your teeth at night, ask your dentist for help on how to stop.

Veneers also tend to look more natural than the composite resin used in bonding. The laboratory that fabricates your veneer will match its color to the color of your surrounding teeth when they make it.

Partial veneers are stronger than bonding and tend to look more natural, but they do have one downside: cost. Using a partial veneer to repair a minor chip in your tooth is much more expensive than bonding, and this is primarily due to the cost of having the partial veneer fabricated.

Between partial veneers and bonding, which is the right choice for you? Overall, partial veneers are a superior option. They last much longer than bonding and often have a much better cosmetic appearance. However, bonding may be a better option if you are concerned about the cost of partial veneers or if you're repairing a chipped tooth that isn't visible.

Regardless of your choice, your tooth will be better protected from further damage and its natural appearance will be restored. Schedule an appointment with a dentist to have your chipped tooth examined and for a discussion of whether bonding or partial veneers are the right option for you.