What Is Dental Bonding?
Dental bonding is a fairly straightforward process compared to other restorative dental treatments. In most cases, bonding procedures can be completed in a single visit. It doesn’t usually require anesthesia & takes about as long as your usual cleaning appointments. The dentist will remove some tooth enamel to roughen the surface where the bonding agent will be placed. After applying a liquid to help the resin stay attached, they will shape the bonding material to be both functional & aesthetically pleasing. Once it is placed & molded, the material is solidified with an ultraviolet light & then polished. The dentist will check to make sure you can comfortably bite down. If any adjustments are needed, they can smooth down or build up the restoration until you are satisfied.
Even “minor” damage can feel like a major dilemma, especially if the damage or imperfection is on your front tooth or teeth. Of course, porcelain dental veneers are the premier solution for any cosmetic problems, especially on the front teeth, but there is a much more affordable and conservative option that mimics the benefits of porcelain veneers – composite bonding.
Bonding is an easy way to improve one tooth or several teeth, and since it can be completed right here in our office with no need for molds, dental labs, or multiple visits, it is also much easier on your budget than veneers.
The procedure is simple. First, a thin coating of a plastic material is placed on the front of the tooth or teeth to be treated. A bonding material is applied and sculpted to correct any imperfections. A high-intensity light then hardens the material and the surface is polished to match the surrounding teeth. The results are so beautiful, no one will realize you have had a repair!
Bonding also functions as a cosmetic treatment to fill gaps, reshape teeth & fix discoloration. In some cases, it is used instead of amalgam fillings or even to protect tooth roots.
The material used in bonding is a putty-like plastic composite resin. Once it has been sculpted onto the teeth, it is then hardened. We can easily customize the color of the bonding resin to match the exact color of your tooth enamel for a seamless look.
Limitations of Bonding
Although bonding is an incredibly useful tool for small-scale repair & cosmetic work, it does have limitations.
Composite resin lacks the durability that veneers & crowns have. If you have a majorly damaged tooth or need a longer-lasting solution, bonding may not be your best option. Veneers & crowns are also more resistant to staining.
While bonding can be used for small gaps, it is not a replacement for orthodontic treatment. Crooked teeth & most bite problems can only be resolved by shifting your teeth with braces or other orthodontic appliances.
Bonded teeth do not respond well to whitening, so getting your teeth whitened after a bonding treatment may create a color mismatch between your original teeth and the bonded tooth. It’s a better idea to get a teeth whitening first so we can use a brighter, whiter resin to match your shiny new smile.
Bonded teeth need to be taken care of just like any of your other teeth or with even greater care. The resin can chip, crack & get stained if not treated properly. Bonding is weaker than your original enamel & cannot be whitened. For this reason, you will need to avoid staining foods & beverages such as coffee for at least 24–48 hours after your procedure. Nail-biters & ice-chewers beware: Bonding will not hold up against your bad habits. Depending on how good your oral hygiene is, your restoration should last between three & ten years before needing a touchup.