Are you self-conscious about your smile? When you look at your mouth in the mirror, do your eyes linger on stains, cracks, and other imperfections in your teeth? If you are ready to fix the flaws that are stopping you from flashing a confident grin, dental bonding might be the perfect solution. This relatively easy, quick, and affordable treatment can remedy a variety of dental issues. Also called tooth bonding, this treatment involves the application of dental materials with adhesives and a high-intensity curing light.
When Is Dental Bonding Used?
Your dentist may recommend bonding as a suitable fix in a number of different situations. Bonding can satisfy all of the following goals:
- To improve the appearance of stained or discolored teeth
- To repair cracked or chipped teeth
- To alter the shape of teeth
- To fill in gaps between teeth
- To repair worn edges of teeth
- To lengthen teeth
- To shield part of a tooth’s root exposed by receding gums
- To repair decayed teeth by filling cavities
- As a cosmetic alternative to amalgam fillings
How Does Bonding Work?
During dental bonding, your dentist will apply a tooth-colored, putty-like resin to the tooth to build it up or fill in chips, cracks, or depressions. To ensure that the bonding treatment will blend in with the surrounding teeth, the dentist begins by matching the color of the bonding material to the existing teeth. Once a color match is made, the dentist prepares the tooth by roughening its surface slightly and applying a conditioning liquid. This step helps ensure that the resin, a durable plastic material, will bond properly with the tooth’s surface. Then, the dentist applies the resin and sculpts it into the desired shape before using a laser or high-intensity light to cure the material, hardening it. Depending on the amount of resin required, the dentist may apply it in layers to allow for thorough curing.
Anesthesia is typically unnecessary; however, if the procedure involves drilling (to fix a cavity or alter the tooth’s shape) or requires your dentist to work in uncomfortably close proximity to a nerve, anesthesia may be used to ensure your comfort. Upon completing the desired repair, your dentist will trim, shape, and polish the bonding to create an attractive, natural-looking surface. In most cases, the procedure takes somewhere between 30 and 60 minutes per tooth to complete.
How Long Does Bonding Last?
The lifespan of bonding depends on the amount of material added, the location of the treatment, and the patient’s oral habits. In most cases, bonding lasts between 3 and 10 years before requiring repair or replacement.
The Pros and Cons of Bonding
Why do people choose bonding? It’s one of the easiest and most affordable cosmetic dental procedures available. Compared to veneers and crowns, bonding requires less tooth enamel removal, making it less invasive. In addition, dentists can complete bonding procedures quickly. With veneers, crowns, and other restorations that require the use of customized tooth coverings, patients often have to make multiple visits to the dentist and wait for the necessary restorative pieces to be created in a lab and shipped to the dentist’s office. With bonding, all of the work is completed in the dentist’s office, so there is no need to wait. In fact, dentists can typically complete the procedure in a single visit.
While bonding requires less time and money than a dental crown, a bonded tooth is not quite as durable as a crown either. In addition, although bonding material does a fair job of resisting discoloration, staining is more of a concern than it would be with a crown. However, if you take good care of your bonded teeth, they will look good and function well for years to come.
Caring for Bonded Teeth
Bonded teeth function like normal teeth and do not require any special care. Like anyone who follows good oral hygiene practices, people with bonded teeth should continue to brush their teeth a minimum of two times a day with a nonabrasive toothpaste and a manual or electric toothbrush. They should also floss daily and rinse regularly with an antiseptic mouthwash.
Because the resin used in bonding can chip and stain, taking certain precautions can extend the life of the bonding. People with bonded teeth should avoid chewing on extremely hard objects like ice, fingernails, or pencils. They may also want to limit their intake of foods and beverages that can discolor teeth, like berries, coffee, tea, red wine, and dark soda.
Is dental bonding the best way to beautify your smile? To learn more about bonding and explore your options, contact Duff Family Dental today to schedule an appointment.