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Dental Bonding vs Veneers: Key Differences

When it comes to cosmetic dentistry, understanding the difference between dental bonding vs veneers is crucial. Both treatment options offer effective solutions for improving your smile, but they’re usually used for different purposes.

Regardless of your cosmetic dentistry requirements, learning about the differences between dental bonding and veneers can help you make an informed decision before your treatment. In this guide, we’ll provide comprehensive information about both procedures, allowing you to make the right choice for your needs.

If you’ve already had treatment carried out and you feel that you may have suffered from dental negligence, please contact our dedicated team to discuss a dental negligence claim.

Dental Bonding vs Veneers: What’s the Difference?

It’s crucial that you understand the key differences between dental bonding and veneers before your treatment is carried out, as having the wrong procedure can have costly implications. Both treatments are considered to be part of the cosmetic dentistry umbrella, although both dental bonding and veneers can also help to preserve your oral health in the long run.

Here, we aim to answer the question ‘dental bonding vs veneers’, so you can decide which procedure is right for your needs.

Exploring Modern Veneers

Veneers improve a person’s smile and are a relatively quick and effective solution to chipped, crooked, stained and misshapen teeth. However, veneers can also help with minor oral health issues, such as dental enamel erosion. Veneers are usually installed by a cosmetic dentist, with two types of material available:

  • Porcelain veneers
  • Composite veneers

Composite veneers are not as common as porcelain veneers despite being the cheaper option.

But this could be more down to the longevity of the veneers than the cost, as the average time frame for porcelain veneers is ten years, whereas with composite veneers, the average period is five years. No matter which material you go for, veneers can vastly improve the appearance of your smile by recreating the look of your natural teeth, as well as providing strength against plaque and tooth decay. 

It is important to consider that the tooth surface needs to be prepared for veneers and that this process is irreversible. This means that once you have had veneer treatment, you will be committed to replacing the veneers at regular intervals for the rest of your lifetime.

How Much Do Veneers Cost?

As previously stated, the cost of your treatment will differ depending on whether you opt for composite or porcelain veneers. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to get veneers on the NHS as they’re usually classified as cosmetic dentistry. However, if you need veneers fitting for clinical reasons, you may be able to find an NHS appointment. Veneers are classed as a band 3 treatment under the NHS, costing £319.10.

There are a number of other factors that can influence the price of your veneers:

  • The country you live in and the area your dental surgery is based in
  • How many veneers are required, and whether you need them all to be made of the same material
  • The experience and reputation of your dentist
  • If further treatment before or after the veneer procedure is required
  • If your dentist works primarily as a cosmetic dentist (dentists specialising in this area often charge a higher fee)

The average price for one composite veneer can cost between £100-£400 per tooth, whereas porcelain veneers cost between £500 and £1000 per tooth. 

Composite Bonding: Explained

Composite bonding is rather different from dental veneers, as it involves fitting a composite filling that mimics the appearance of your natural teeth. The composite material sticks to your teeth and is used to repair chipped teeth, as well as improve the shade and shape of your tooth structure. However, dental bonding can also be used to repair damaged and discoloured teeth, as well as prevent further oral health issues.

Composite bonding does not require any tooth preparation, making composite bonding a preferable treatment for many people. However, dental bonding may not be suitable for anyone with already heavily restored teeth or missing enamel. Veneers are also unsuitable if there is missing enamel, or if the teeth are heavily restored – in these cases, crowns would usually be recommended. 

Typically, composite bonding costs between £300-£450 per tooth, although this price may differ depending on the surgery used.

Dental Bonding Vs Veneers: The Procedure

Dental bonding and veneers are very different treatments, so the process you go through will differ depending on your chosen procedure. However, there are some steps that your dentist should follow before every treatment, regardless of the procedure being carried out.

For example, before treatment, your dentist must obtain informed consent from you, which includes going through any potential risks, side effects and alternative procedures available. You’ll usually have an initial consultation in which your dentist will go through these factors with you. If your dentist fails to gain voluntary consent and something goes wrong during your treatment, you may be able to open a dental negligence claim against your dentist.

Before treatment, your dentist should also thoroughly clean the affected area and sterilise all the tools that will be used as part of the procedure. You may be offered a sedative or an anaesthetic if required. However, as there are no nerves in the enamel, this approach is not always needed.

The veneer fitting process usually follows these stages:

  1. After cleaning the affected area, your tooth will be prepared to hold the veneer. The affected tooth will usually need to be filed down before your veneer is fitted, and a thin layer of enamel will be removed to attach the veneer to your tooth.
  2. A 3D impression of your mouth will be created by using either a 3D scanner or soft putty. In some cases, you may have to wear a temporary veneer before returning for another appointment.
  3. Finally, your veneer will be attached to the affected tooth using strong dental glue.

When having composite bonding fitted, the procedure will usually contain these steps:

  1.  First, your dentist will choose a resin colour that matches the colour of your natural teeth the most, in order to make your dental bonding look natural.
  2. Your dentist will prepare for treatment by isolating the affected tooth with a rubber sheet (known as a dental dam) or cotton rolls, ensuring the area remains dry and uncontaminated during your treatment.
  3. Your dentist will use an acid-etch gel to roughen the tooth surface, before coating it with a liquid to help administer the resin more smoothly.
  4. FInally, the resin will be applied and moulded into the required shape of the tooth. The resin will be added in small increments which are hardened with a curing light, before being shaped again and polished by your dentist to match the rest of your teeth.

Your dentist should also provide the appropriate aftercare after your treatment, which may involve further check-ups to ensure your veneers/composite bonding are working as expected. If your treatment goes wrong, you may be able to make a dental negligence claim against your dentist.

What if I Experience Dental Negligence During a Treatment?

In most cases, dental procedures surrounding veneers and dental bonding go as planned. However, in certain circumstances, dental negligence can occur during treatment, which can lead to injury and further issues down the line.

We asked our in-house dental experts for their recommendations, and they recommended that you speak to your dentist if you have concerns about your dental treatment. If you feel unable to do this or you are not satisfied with the response from your dentist, we recommend that you seek legal advice from a specialist Dental Negligence solicitor who will be able to advise on your options for pursuing a dental negligence claim.

If your dentist makes a mistake when performing treatment, there are two main routes you can go down:

Formal complaints can be made to your dentist up to one year from when the problem occurred. However, some people prefer to hire a dental negligence solicitor – doing so may enable you to claim compensation for the ordeal you’ve been through. 

At the Dental Law Partnership, we work on a no-win, no-fee basis, aiming to seek justice for every client we work with. We will take the time to listen to you from the moment you contact us, all the way through to the end of your claim. To see how much you could claim, please visit our dedicated Client Stories page.

Dental Bonding vs Veneers: Make the Right Decision Today 

We hope that after reading through this page, you have a better understanding of the differences between dental bonding and veneers. You may find that one treatment is preferable over the other, depending on your own specific circumstances. If you’re unsure which procedure is right for your oral health needs, your dentist should be able to advise you further.


If you’ve already undergone treatment and you think that you could have suffered from dental negligence, our expert team will be happy to help you open a case. Our in-house team of experts consists of both dentists and solicitors, giving us greater knowledge of the dental industry as a whole.


To open your dental negligence claim, please make an enquiry here.