Over time, your teeth can become chipped, cracked, broken or even discolored for a number of different reasons. This can have a negative impact on your self-esteem and on how other people view you. For these cosmetic dentistry issues, your dentist may recommend dental bonding to help repair the teeth and restore their natural look. Dental bonding is one of the most commonly performed dental procedures used today; if you’ve ever had dental work done, chances are you have had some form of dental bonding. It presents an excellent alternative to a number of more expensive and complicated dental restorations with quick and noticeable results.
What is dental bonding?
Dental bonding is one of the easiest and least expensive restoration procedures your dentist can perform. In this procedure, your dentist places a naturally tooth-colored resin on your teeth in order to correct dental issues that require very specific placement, rather than a covering of the whole tooth (as crowns and veneers do). These issues may include misshapen, cracked, chipped, or broken teeth. At times, dental bonding can also be used to treat cavities as an alternative to amalgam fillings. Many customers prefer a bonding restoration to a normal filling because they are naturally tooth-colored, and do not require the use of mercury or other metals that change the appearance of the teeth. Dental bonding may also be used to protect tooth roots that have been exposed due to gum loss, or to build up teeth that have become worn down due to bruxism or TMJ/TMD.
There are two main types of dental bonding: direct composite bonding and adhesive dental bonding. In direct composite bonding, your dentist will apply a naturally tooth-colored material to repair specific dental issues such as chips, cracks, or breaks. In adhesive dental bonding, the dental resin is used to attach another dental restoration to the tooth such as an inlay/onlay restoration, dental veneer, or dental crown to the tooth.
There are a number of advantages to dental bonding. Unlike veneers or other types of repairs, no temporary repairs are needed, and there is no need to wait for a professional lab to return customized dental prostheses. Bonding can usually be performed in a single visit, and the restoration is naturally tooth-colored. Dental bonding can make a dramatic difference in the appearance of your smile in a short period of time. Unlike cosmetic dentistry procedures such as crowns and veneers, only a tiny amount of enamel is removed for dental bonding.
How long does dental bonding take and does it last?
Most of the time the application of a dental bonding will only take around 30 minutes to an hour per tooth. There is no anesthesia necessary, unless the bonding is being used to fill a tooth; then a local anesthetic may be used.
Before beginning, your dentist will use a special shade guide to pick a resin color that most closely matches the color of your natural tooth. Your dentist will then begin by slightly roughening the surface of your tooth in order to help the resin adhere properly. A conditioning liquid will then be applied to your tooth, followed by the resin. At this point, the resin has a putty-like consistency so that your dentist can properly mold and shape the resin. Once the tooth is prepared and the resin applied, a special ultraviolet light is used to harden the material very quickly. Your dentist will then shape and trim the resin to ensure a natural shape and proper bite.
While dental bonding isn’t permanent, it can often last between three and 10 years when cared for properly. Maintaining proper oral hygiene practices is imperative to extending the life of your dental bonding. The resin used to create a dental bonding restoration is not as stain resistant as veneers or dental crowns, and may stain if you consume food or drinks that have a tendency to stain teeth. You will also want to be sure to schedule and keep your regular bi-annual exams so that your dentist can ensure no touch ups or replacement is needed, as the dental resin can break or chip over time.
If you have teeth that are chipped, cracked, or broken, or feel you would be a good candidate for dental bonding for any reason, call the office of Roger L. Gillespie, DDS immediately for an appointment. We can answer any questions about dental bonding or other dental restorations that you may have, and help you get your teeth restored to their natural beauty. You deserve a healthy, white, beautiful smile; don’t wait any longer. Call today!