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 variety of sources. At Drs of Smiles in Mesa, Drs. LeSueur and Dodaro use dental bonding to cover these minor cosmetic flaws. Bonding creates a beautiful, affordable smile that 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, shaped to fit and then polished to a perfect finish. Dental bonding is one of the least expensive cosmetic dental procedures and is an alternative to porcelain veneers or dental crowns, both of which are more expensive dental restorations.
What can dental bonding fix?
While composite resin is 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, however, it can be used to treat:
- Uneven teeth
- Minor chips and cracks
- Crooked teeth
- Gaps between teeth
- Discolored teeth unresponsive to whitening
Is Dental Bonding Noticeable?
If done properly and by an experienced dentist, such as Drs. LeSueur or Dr. Dodaro, dental bonding is virtually invisible. Our aim is to blend the bonding cement in with your natural tooth color so it cannot be seen. If the original tooth color is an odd color and was not matched exactly, there are rare cases where the bonding can be seen.
The tooth bonding Procedure
After your teeth have been cleaned, we begin your bonding by matching the resin color to 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.
Once the tooth is ready, we apply the tooth-colored resin. The resin is the consistency of putty and applied in small increments. This allows our staff to build up the contour and depth. There is an element of sculpting involved which 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.
Finally, we test your bite and the shape of the bonding. If necessary, we may shave off unnecessary areas. When satisfied with the final bite and look, we polish the bonded tooth, making it blend perfectly with your other teeth. There is no pain associated with any part of the dental bonding process and patients do not require anesthetic.
advantages and disadvantages of bonding
There are advantages and disadvantages to using dental bonding. Here are both sides:
- Bonding is much cheaper than crowns or veneers
- Bonding requires only a single visit, usually lasting an hour
- The resin color can match your natural teeth
- Patients do not need anesthetic
- The procedure is completely non-invasive
- Bonding doesn’t require removing healthy tooth material
- Chewing hard foods and grinding your teeth causes the bonding to crack
- Bonding doesn’t return strength to a damaged tooth, as a crown does
- Excessive bite force or trauma can cause the bond to detach
- Bonding isn’t meant for large areas
- Composite resin doesn’t resist staining the way dental porcelain does
- Bonding doesn’t respond to whitening
How long after dental bonding can I eat?
Patients can leave our office right after their procedure is complete. However, they should refrain from eating for at least 24 hours. In order for the bonding material to cure and to provide final strengthening, it is best not to chew as it will strain on the bonding. It is more likely that the bonding material will fail if you do not wait an appropriate amount of time. Patients can have liquids after their procedure and anytime in the following 24 hours.
caring for bonded teeth
Your bonded teeth require only normal good home hygiene practices. This includes brushing for two minutes twice a day and flossing once daily. While resin is non-porous and resistant to staining, it can begin to stain over time.
How long does 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. If resin becomes stained over time Drs of Smiles would be happy to remove and replace it with new resin.
Are there any alternatives to Dental 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. Dental bonding and porcelain veneers have the same end goal, to cover cosmetic imperfections and create a perfect smile, but they do it in different ways. Additionally, crowns are another alternative to veneers and dental bonding.