What is Dental Bonding?
Tooth bonding is the application process of a tooth-colored resin material using adhesives and a high intensity curing light. This dental procedures gets its name because the materials are actually bonded to the tooth. Tooth bonding uses a plastic-like material called resin to address a number of dental problems.
The popular use for this dental treatment is to improve the appearance of a discolored or chipped tooth. Additional uses include larger cavities needing fillings, to fixing the appearance of crooked teeth, and even correcting gaps. Tooth bonding can replace more expensive treatments like porcelain veneers and improve the look of other treatments.
Candidate for Tooth Bonding
Dental bonding offers several advantages for people who want to improve the appearance of their smile without having to permanently alter the surface of a tooth or teeth. Bonding provides outstanding results for concerns such as:
- Asymmetry caused by gum recession
- A chip at the edge or in the central portion of a tooth or teeth
- Enamel erosion around a tooth’s edge
- Slight misalignment that causes one or more teeth to stand out from others
What is Tooth Bonding Used to Treat?
Tooth bonding is used for a variety of dental problems:
- Helps restore decayed teeth.
- Fills in cracks and repair chips in teeth.
- Permanently fills in gaps between teeth.
- Brightens heavily discolored teeth.
- Replaces certain types of fillings.
- It helps to protect the teeth when gums recede.
- Improve the symmetry of the teeth.
- Help hold veneers and crowns.
Benefits of Dental Bonding
- Price — Bonding can be used in place of other, more expensive options such as veneers, crowns, or certain fillings. With a talented, precise dentist, you can achieve results similar to those you would get with veneers and crowns.
- Simple — The treatment is done in-office, usually in one visit. It’s simple, quick, and requires no downtime.
- No anesthesia — Teeth bonding only requires having the bonding material applied to your tooth. If you are not having any other treatments done, you can get the treatment without the need for freezing gel or anesthesia.
Dental Bonding Process
The dental bonding procedure begins with a thorough consultation. It is important that Dr. Barney understands your concerns so appropriate treatment options can be discussed. A thorough examination is also performed to ensure the tooth or teeth in question are healthy enough to receive cosmetic treatment. If you decide that you would like to have a tooth or teeth bonded, it may be possible to undergo treatment during the same visit.
Bonding occurs in several steps:
- First, the tooth must be prepared to accept the composite resin. This is achieved by gently etching the uppermost layer of enamel. Etching creates a slightly rough surface to which a primer can then be applied.
- The prepared, primed tooth is ready for its new veneer. Composite resin material may be applied in layers to reach the most natural-looking result. The different layers may each have a slightly different color, each that matches a part of the natural tooth. Dr. Barney is also careful to maintain translucency at the tooth’s edge.
- Each layer of composite that is applied to the tooth is carefully sculpted to correct flaws and bring the tooth into harmony with surrounding teeth. The sculpted resin is then hardened with high-intensity light. This hardening step is what adheres the material to the tooth for long-term effects.
- The sculpted, hardened resin is smoothed and polished to complement the reflective, shiny surface of adjacent teeth.
How Do I Care for My Bonding Treatment?
Bonded teeth should be cared for exactly as you would your other teeth with regular brushing, flossing, and cleanings and check-ups. The one difference, however, is that you need to avoid eating sticky or very hard foods, as they can break or crack the bonds.
How Long Does Dental Bonding Last on Front Teeth?
Dental bonding can be a highly successful treatment when proper care is maintained. Generally, the longevity of bonding is somewhat determined by the location of the tooth or teeth on which composite resin is applied. Front teeth may be more susceptible to damage due to the density of foods bitten into. Hard, crunchy, and chewy foods can all degrade the integrity of a dental bond. To offset the risk of damage or loosening, patients often create the habit of cutting foods rather than biting into them. With good care and protective habits, tooth-colored dental bonding can last 4 to 8 years.
Dental Bonding Vs. Veneers
Technically, dental bonding is a type of veneer. The treatment is categorized as a direct veneer. Alternatively, the porcelain veneers that are popular today are categorized as indirect veneers. Where bonding is applied directly to the tooth and then hardened, porcelain veneers are made in a dental lab. They require a model of the tooth or teeth that are of concern, which we create by taking impressions. Porcelain veneers are about as thick as a fingernail, which means enamel also must be altered to accommodate the new fixtures. Due to the reduction in enamel, porcelain veneer treatment is considered permeant; the tooth will always need to be covered so, at some point, veneers may need to be replaced.
Because porcelain veneers are made in a lab, two to three visits are necessary to complete the treatment process. Upon completion, porcelain veneers are bonded to prepared enamel using the same high-intensity light involved in the direct bonding process. Once in place, porcelain veneers are typically expected to last up to 15 years.
Dental Bonding Pros & Cons
Advantages of dental bonding include:
- Composite resin can be color-matched to surrounding enamel to achieve the most natural-looking outcome.
- The cost of bonding is less than porcelain veneers.
- Only one visit is needed to complete the entire bonding process in most cases.
- Bonding does not require enamel reduction. The effects can be reversed at any time.
- Anesthetic is typically not needed for bonding treatment. Dr. Barney may administer topical anesthetic if bonding is performed for deep cavities or root exposure.
- Healthy tooth structure is left completely intact.
Disadvantages of Dental Bonding Include:
- Composite resin is not stain-resistant like porcelain. Care must be taken to avoid discoloration from foods and beverages.
- Surface limitations exist with dental bonding. This treatment is best-suited for small corrections. Deformity or cracking is more likely on larger areas of correction. For more extensive coverage, Dr. Barney may recommend a crown or porcelain veneer.
- Cracks or detachment may occur due to teeth-clenching or grinding. Wearing a night guard may reduce this risk.
How Long After Dental Bonding Can I Eat?
It can take up to 24 hours for the composite resin to harden completely. During this time, it is advisable to eat a softer-food diet that does not require biting into foods. Soups, smoothies, and even soft sandwiches (broken or cut into chewable pieces) are appropriate. If you have questions about your post-treatment diet, contact our office. We’re happy to help you.
Schedule a Consultation
If you would like to learn more about tooth bonding, and would like to see if you are a good candidate, call (304) 754-8803 to schedule a consultation at our office in Hedgesville, WV.