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Dr. Na Xu
Healthy Smiles Family Dental

2601 25th St., Suite 400
Salem, OR 97302

P: (503) 385-1185
F: (503) 339-1981

Tooth Whitening or Veneers: What's the Difference?

Posted on 6/22/2015 by Na Xu
Woman's whitened smile, before and after.Many people want to have whiter teeth. There are two basic options to consider: teeth whitening with bleach, or porcelain veneers. Let's take a closer look at both of these options in terms of color, time and cost.


Most people are most familiar with bleaching, and will tend to think that they will get better results than is actually the case. As far as color between whitening and veneers, the color ends up being about the same, but there are many other factors to consider.

Bleaching the teeth is a short term solution; you will need to continue to do it regularly to keep your teeth looking white. In fact, many patients find that they will need to bleach their teeth several times annually. This is especially the case if they drink coffee, smoke or if their teeth stain easily.

Porcelain veneers will provide the best white color, if they are finished and polished properly. They also can be somewhat stain resistant; many patients find that the veneers can be almost stain free for the full life of the product, which is approximately 15 years.

Note that there are different types of porcelain veneers with different characteristics. Pressed porcelain will keep its color longer than feldspathic porcelain. The latter can change in color as the tooth underneath gets darker with age.


You have several options if you want to bleach your teeth. We can do it, or you can use one of the home treatments that are available. You can simply visit us and have the treatment done for you, or you can do it yourself at home. Doing it at home means that you may have to wear bleach trays on the teeth for a certain length of time for several days.

On the other hand, veneers will require a good deal of prep time. Impressions must be made and tooth reduction and temporaries may be needed. In the short term, doing veneers can take more time. Yet, as teeth must be bleached regularly to stay white, you may find that it is less time intensive overall to go with veneers.


Naturally, the cost of veneers is much higher than bleaching, but you have to weigh its costs over the entire life of the process. Keep in mind that the cost difference between bleaching and veneers is offset by the expenses of doing many bleachings over 15 years, which is the approximate life of the veneers.

Both bleaching and porcelain veneers are perfectly viable solutions for whitening the teeth.

Other Considerations

It should be noted that many people are not always satisfied with the results of teeth whitening, especially bleaching. The reason is that there is some confusion between whiteness and the beauty of the teeth. Usually, bleaching is the best choice for people who are younger, as well as people with straight, attractive teeth that do not have a lot of wear/tear. If your teeth are not straight; are too short; or long or have chips in them, the results may not be what you want.

Another thing to remember is that obtaining porcelain veneers, while more expensive, is not painful, as many believe. Getting veneers means that some of the original tooth structure is reduced so they think the procedure will hurt. Actually, the amount of tooth that is removed is quite small so there is not any pain.

Hopefully, this information will give you more insight into whether bleaching or veneers is the right option for you to make your smile whiter than ever.

If you are interested in bleaching or dental veneers, call us at (503) 385-1185 today.

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