Dental bonding is a procedure in which a tooth-colored resin material (a durable plastic material) is applied and hardened with a special light, which ultimately “bonds” the material to the tooth to restore or improve a person’s smile. Dental bonding is an option that can be considered:
- To repair decayed teeth (composite resins are used to fill cavities)
- To repair chipped or cracked teeth
- To improve the appearance of discolored teeth
- To close spaces between teeth
- To make teeth look longer
- To change the shape of teeth
- As a cosmetic alternative to amalgam fillings
- To protect a portion of the tooth’s root that has been exposed and/or eroded when gums recede
Preparation: Frequently little advanced preparation is needed for dental bonding. Anesthesia often is not necessary unless the bonding is being used to fill a decayed tooth or a sensitive root. Your dentist will use a shade guide to select a composite resin color that will closely match the color of your tooth.
Restoration: Next, the surface of the tooth will be roughened and a conditioning liquid applied. These procedures help the bonding material adhere to the tooth. The tooth-colored, putty-like resin is then applied, molded, and smoothed to the desire shape and contour. A curing light is then used to harden the material. After the material is hardened, your dentist will further trim, shape and polish it to match the sheen of the rest of the tooth surface.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Dental Bonding:
Advantages: Dental bonding is among the easiest and least expensive of cosmetic dental procedures. Unlike veneers and crowns, which are customized tooth coverings that must be manufactured in a lab, bonding usually can be done in one visit unless several teeth are involved. Another advantage, compared with veneers and crowns, is that the least amount of tooth enamel is removed. Also, compared to veneers and crowns, dental bonding is easily repairable. Finally, unless dental bonding is being performed to fill a cavity, anesthesia is usually not needed.
Disadvantages: Although the material used in dental bonding is somewhat stain resistant, it does not resist stain as well as veneers and crowns. Another disadvantage is that the bonding materials do not last as long nor are as strong as other restorative procedures, such as crowns, veneers, or fillings. Additionally, bonding materials can chip and break off a tooth.
Because of some of the limitations of dental bonding, some denitist view it as best suited for a small cosmetic change, for temporary correction of a cosmetic defect, and for correction of teeth inareas of very low bite pressure (for example, front teeth). Consult with your dentist about the best cosmetic approach for your particular problem.