No one has a perfect smile. Most of us have a chip here or there, an oddly shaped tooth, even possibly some discoloration from a drug reaction when we were kids. At Drs of Smiles in Mesa, Drs. LeSueur and Dodaro use dental bonding to cover these minor cosmetic flaws. Bonding creates a beautiful smile and it’s very affordable. Plus, bonding can be done in just a single appointment!
What is dental bonding?
Dental bonding uses tooth-colored composite resin to repair decayed, chipped, fractured, or discolored teeth. Composite resin is a combination of tooth-colored plastic and glass combined into a workable, yet very strong tooth covering. The composite resin is chosen to match the surrounding teeth; it is shaped to fit; and then polished to a perfect finish. Dental bonding is one of the least expensive cosmetic dental procedures; it’s an alternative to porcelain veneers or dental crowns, both of which are more expensive dental restorations.
What dental problems can be masked with bonding?
Dental bonding can be used to treat:
- Uneven teeth
- Minor chips and cracks
- Crooked teeth
- Gaps between teeth
- Discolored teeth that don’t respond to whitening
While composite resin is now used for tooth-colored fillings, dental bonding is usually considered a separate, strictly cosmetic procedure. It improves the shape, color, and overall appearance of a tooth or teeth. Bonding doesn’t return strength to a compromised tooth.
How is dental bonding done?
After your teeth have been cleaned, we begin your bonding by matching the resin color to match your natural tooth color. Next, the tooth or teeth to be bonded receive a light etching to roughen the enamel. This makes for a better surface for the resin to bond to. Next, a conditioning liquid is applied to the tooth to help the resin adhere to the tooth.
The tooth is now ready for the resin. We apply the tooth-colored resin, which is the consistency of putty, in small increments, building up the contour and depth. There is an element of sculpting involved; this is where the experience of Drs. LeSueur and Dodaro come into play. When satisfied with the look of the tooth, the resin is cured with a curing light.
Now, we test your bite and the shape of the bonding. If necessary, we may shave off high points and the like. When satisfied with the final bite and look, we polish the bonded tooth, making it blend perfectly with your other teeth.
How is bonding different than porcelain veneers?
While both dental bonding and the application of porcelain veneers have the same end goal — to cover cosmetic imperfections and create a perfect smile — they do it in different ways. Bonding uses a resin material that is sculpted on the teeth, cured, and then polished. Veneers are thin porcelain shells that are cemented onto the fronts of the teeth. To make room for the veneers, approximately 0.3 mm to 0.5 mm of the tooth enamel must be shaved off.
Porcelain veneers do not stain and are quite durable. The resin used in bonding is more resistant to staining than natural tooth enamel, but it can stain over time. Veneers last longer, but are more expensive than bonding. Also, bonding is usually done in a single appointment, while veneers require two appointments.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of bonding?
There are pluses and minuses involved with bonding at Drs of Smiles. Here are both sides:
- Bonding is much cheaper than crowns or veneers.
- Bonding can be done in a single visit, usually requiring just an hour or so.
- The resin color is matched to your natural teeth very accurately.
- No anesthetic is needed.
- The procedure is completely non-invasive.
- Bonding doesn’t require removing healthy tooth material, as is necessary with crowns and veneers.
- Chewing hard foods and grinding your teeth can make the bonding crack or chip.
- Composite resin doesn’t resist staining the way dental porcelain does, although it resists staining better than natural tooth enamel.
- Excessive bite force or trauma can cause the bond to detach.
- Bonding isn’t meant for large areas.
- Bonding doesn’t return strength to a damaged tooth, as a crown does.
- Bonding doesn’t respond to whitening.
Is dental bonding painful?
There is no pain whatsoever with dental bonding.
Do I have to provide special care for my bonded teeth?
Your bonded teeth require only normal good home hygiene practices, brushing for two minutes twice a day and flossing once daily. While resin is non-porous and resistant to staining, it can stain over time.
How long will my dental bonding last?
How long your bonding treatment lasts depends in part on you. If you practice good hygiene and don’t chew ice and your fingernails, your bonded teeth will continue to look great for up to a decade. Resin that has become stained can be removed and replaced.
What are the alternatives to bonding?
When it comes to covering flaws in a tooth or teeth, bonding is a great, inexpensive option. Still, it doesn’t have the durability of a porcelain crown, which covers the tooth down to the gum line and returns strength to the tooth. Bonding also cannot be used to cover large gaps between teeth or large chips; it can’t maintain its strength with overly large applications. Crowns are better alternatives in those cases. Also, porcelain veneers, resist staining and are more durable than bonding.