Dental bonding is a cosmetic dentistry procedure in which a tooth-colored composite material is applied to a tooth, sculpted into shape, hardened, and polished. It’s called bonding because the material bonds to the tooth. Dental bonding is ideal for small cosmetic dentistry work, such as fixing a broken or chipped tooth or closing small gaps between teeth. Dental bonding is also used as a tooth-colored filling for small cavities because it’s more cosmetically appealing than silver fillings.
Dentist would first prepare the surface to help the bonding material stay in place. This process doesn’t hurt. The putty-like bonding material is then placed on the tooth’s surface, shaped, and sculpted. A special light is used to help the material harden and set. Finally, the composite is polished and buffed for a smooth finish.
Cost. The average cost of dental bonding is less expensive than veneers or crowns and some dental insurance plans may offer some coverage, particularly when it is done for structural reasons or to fill a cavity.
Speed. Dental bonding typically requires only one office visit. The entire process can be accomplished in 20 to 60 minutes per tooth.
Ease. Anesthesia is usually not necessary, unless bonding is being used to fill a decayed tooth.
Bonding material can become stained. Unlike crowns and porcelain veneers, dental bonding has a tendency to become discolored over time. Coffee, tea, red wine, and cigarette smoke can stain the material used in dental bonding, making it stand out from the rest of your teeth. To minimize staining, you’ll need to avoid these substances for 24 to 48 hours after bonding is first performed. If you’re a smoker, you’ll want to choose a different cosmetic dentistry treatment. Because bonding material is porous, it will yellow from exposure to cigarette smoke.
Less durable. Additionally, the material used in dental bonding isn’t as strong and long-lasting as porcelain veneers and crowns. It can easily chip. With proper care though, dental bonding can last three to seven years.
When Dental Bonding is a Good Choice
If you have a minor cosmetic dentistry issue — such as a cracked or discolored tooth, a gap between your teeth, or silver fillings that show when you smile — dental bonding may help.
Dental bonding can be used in cosmetic dentistry to reshape or recontour teeth. In contrast to veneers and bleaching, dental bonding can not be used to whiten your entire smile.
Because dental bonding is more susceptible to staining and chipping than other forms of cosmetic dentistry, special care is required to keep your bonded teeth looking natural.
Cut down on coffee, tea, and red wine.
If you’re a smoker, this is a good reason to quit — not to mention that smoking also increases your risk of gum disease and oral cancer.
Since dental bonding can chip easily, avoid biting your nails or chewing on hard objects, such as ice, pencils, and raw carrots.
If necessary, dental bonding can be repaired or touched up.
Dental bonding isn’t appropriate in every situation, but it can be a quick and relatively inexpensive way to improve your smile.