Do you have a slightly chipped, discolored or decayed tooth? These small imperfections can make a big difference in the function and aesthetic of your smile.
Fortunately, dental bonding can help. It provides both cosmetic and functional benefits. It is also one of the most common and most affordable dental procedures in practices around the country. If you have had a dental repair in the last two decades, then you have probably had some form of dental bonding.
What is Dental Bonding?
It is the application of tooth-colored resin to repair or enhance teeth. It gets its name because of the resin material bonds directly to the surface of the tooth. There are two main types of bonding. The first is direct composite bonding. This is the process where dentists apply bonding material directly to the teeth fill cavities, repair chips, and make cosmetic changes. The second is adhesive bonding. This is when the composite bonding material attaches a dental restoration like veneers, crowns, bridges, inlays, and onlays to the remaining natural tooth.
Main Uses for Teeth Bonding
A few of the most common reasons to get dental bonding are to:
- Repair decayed teeth
- Repair chipped or cracked teeth
- Close small gaps between front teeth
- Change the shape of teeth
- Improve the appearance of tooth discoloration
- Use as a cosmetic alternative to amalgam fillings
- Protect a portion of root exposed by a receding gumline
What is the Procedure for Bonding?
The full procedure typically takes about 30 to 60 minutes. Anesthesia isn’t often necessary for this procedure, so there is very little preparation. If the bonding is meant to fill a small cavity the dentist removes the decayed portion and disinfects the area. Next, the dentist roughens the surface of the tooth so the boding can adhere. Using a shading guide, the dentist chooses the resin that closely matches the color of natural teeth. Then the dentist applies the resin, molding and smoothing it into the desired shape. To help the resin set the dentist uses a bright light or laser. After several applications and the material has hardened the dentist further trims, shapes, and polishes it for the final result.
Advantages of Dental Bonding
Dental bonding is one of the most common, most affordable ways to repair teeth. Usually, the entire treatment procedure can be done in one short office visit and does not require anesthesia. Also, the dentist can keep more of the natural tooth structure intact.
Disadvantages of Dental Bonding
Along with the benefits, there are some limitations to consider. Unfortunately, the materials used in dental bonding are not as strong as real teeth or as durable as other dental restorations. Typically dental bonding only lasts a few years before needing repair or a more advanced restorative procedure. Also, the composite resin cannot be whitened.
How to Care for Teeth after Dental Bonding
You maintain dental bonding just as you would your natural teeth. It is necessary to brush at least twice a day and floss at least once. You should also visit the dentist every six months for a checkup and professional dental cleaning. That said, because bonding material isn’t as strong, you will want to avoid chewing on ice, pen caps, or even fingernails. These bad habits can chip or damage the filling material.
Not sure if dental bonding is right for you? Contact us to schedule an appointment and determine which treatments are best to maintain the health and beauty of your smile.