There are a number of dental procedures designed to treat minor flaws or change the appearance of teeth. Bonding, in particular, could be used to repair areas of tooth decay, chips, or cracks, but it’s also frequently used in a cosmetic capacity to hide tooth discoloration, close gaps, or make smaller teeth look larger or longer. It can even be used to protect exposed roots if you have a receding gum line.
There are other options to consider in many cases, such as the addition of veneers, but bonding may end up being preferable due to cost and convenience. However, you probably want to know how the process works before you get started. How is dental bonding applied?
What is Bonding Material?
Composite materials are used in the bonding process and they are made of putty-like resins, or plastic materials, that are designed to match the color and appearance of natural teeth. Before any bonding process begins, your dentist will first match different resins against your teeth to find that one that will most seamlessly blend with your existing smile. It’s important to note that if you have plans to whiten teeth, you should do so before the bonding procedure since bonding materials cannot be whitened.
Direct Composite Bonding
There are two types of bonding your dentist may consider: direct composite bonding and adhesive bonding. The first type is fairly straightforward. Bonding materials are placed on damaged or discolored areas of the tooth to cover discoloration, hide cracks, chips, and jagged edges of teeth, or fill in cavities. The bonding material is sculpted to fit with your natural smile and bite, or in some cases, to upgrade for a better-than-new appearance. It is then hardened and polished to look like your natural teeth.
This type of bonding tends to be used for more serious concerns like broken teeth. It involves using bonding material to attach restorative products, such as crowns, bridges, inlays, onlays, or porcelain veneers, for example. For such applications, preparation requires the surface of the tooth to be roughened so as to form a tight and lasting bond. Then liquid bonding material is applied, followed by the resin tooth restoration, which is molded to fit and then hardened and polished.
Bonding materials are not as strong as your actual teeth, so as you can imagine, damaging them is possible. With proper care, including a stringent oral hygiene regimen and avoiding chewing on hard objects (pens, ice, hard candy, fingernails, etc.), bonding should last about 10 years or longer.