Dental Bonding is a procedure that is designed to improve the appearance of the teeth with the use of a tooth-colored resin material. This material is applied on the surface of the tooth and hardened with a special light. This is usually used to:
- repair chipped or cracked teeth
- improve appearance of stained teeth
- close the gaps in between the teeth
- change the shape and length of teeth
- repair decayed teeth and fill cavities
- protect the exposed part of the tooth's root due to receding gums
- provide cosmetic alternative to amalgam fillings
How Is This Procedure Done?
The preparatory step is simple and quick. Anesthesia is usually not required unless the procedure is used for filling a decayed tooth. The dentist will use the shade guide to pick a color of the composite resin that closely matches your tooth color.
Once everything is in place, the dentist will roughen up the surface of the tooth. He/she will apply a conditioning liquid. This will help ensure that the bonding material will adhere properly to the tooth.
The composite resin is then applied, molded, and smoothed to achieve the desired shape, ideally similar to the other teeth. Ultraviolet light or laser is used to harden the composite material. Additional trimming and shaping will be done after the material has hardened. It will also be polished so it will have the same sheen as the other teeth. The whole procedure takes about 30 to 60 minutes per tooth.
What are the Advantages of Dental Bonding?
The foremost advantage of this procedure is that it's very easy to do. In fact, the entire procedure can be done in one visit unless several teeth need to be covered. With veneers and crowns, the process takes longer because these have to be manufactured in the laboratory.
It's also the least expensive of all cosmetic dental procedures.
On top of all these, only very little amount of tooth enamel is removed, unlike with crowns and veneers.
Are there any Drawbacks?
The main disadvantage of dental bonding is that the composite resin is not as stain resistant as crowns. This means that the material can become discolored over time. It also doesn't last as long as crowns, veneers, or fillings. Some people even experience having the dental bonding material chip off, which can cause breaking off of the tooth.
Because of these limitations, dentists recommend this for small cosmetic changes or for correcting teeth with low bite pressure like the front teeth. It's important to consult your dentist first to find out if this is the best approach for your problem or not.
If you do decide to go for it, you don't have to pay special attention to the bonded teeth. Your normal good oral hygiene practices are enough. Make sure that you brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss daily, and see your dentist at least once a year. Avoid biting fingernails and chewing on hard food or objects.