Bonding is an alternative to veneers and can be used as a restorative procedure for teeth that are chipped, cracked, discolored, or misarranged.
How does it work?
The tooth is prepared for the procedure by lightly etching the surface and applying a bonding liquid. Once the liquid sets, a plastic resin is applied and sculpted into the desired shape by the dentist. Once set, the resin is trimmed, smoothed, and polished for a natural appearance.
The bonding procedure can often be completed in a single office visit and can significantly improve the appearance of a tooth. However, since the plastic resin used is not as strong as your natural tooth enamel, it is more likely to stain, chip, or break than natural teeth. Bonding typically lasts three to five years before need of repair.
We are proud of how dentistry today can restore broken or decayed teeth to full beauty and function. One of the easiest and least expensive ways of doing this is with dental bonding. Bonding uses tooth-colored materials to replace missing tooth structure or hide cosmetically unappealing minor defects in a tooth — chips, discoloration, and even minor spacing irregularities. Bonding materials are called “composite resins” because they contain a mixture of plastic and glass, which adds strength and translucency. The composite actually bonds, or becomes one, with the rest of the tooth.
Composite resins come in a variety of tooth shades for truly lifelike results. When bonding is done with a skilled hand and an artistic eye, it may be impossible to distinguish the bonded tooth from its neighbors. Though bonding will not last as long as a dental veneer, it also does not require the involvement of a dental laboratory and, most often, can be done without drilling of the tooth. It’s a particularly good solution for teens, who often need to wait until their teeth have finished maturing before choosing a more permanent type of dental restoration.
See patients of Dr. Chao who have had composite bonding to improve their smiles…
This woman did not like the gap between her two front teeth. We checked her bite and found that her bite was causing her front teeth to separate. She needed a minor occlusal adjustment. Otherwise, her teeth were healthy. After stabilizing her bite, we closed the gap or diastema, by adding composite bonding to her two front teeth in a one hour sitting. What a dramatic difference! She now loves her smile and it didn’t cost a lot of time or money! –Actual patient treated by Dr. Chao
This young man had naturally misshapen teeth otherwise known as “peg laterals”. He wanted a quick, inexpensive fix so he could smile for his prom pictures. –Actual patient treated by Dr. Chao
Caring for Bonded Teeth:
Bonded teeth should be brushed and flossed daily, and professionally cleaned at the dental office twice per year, just the same as the rest of your teeth. The most important thing to keep in mind about caring for your bonded tooth is that composite resin can absorb stain, just as natural teeth can. Therefore, you will want to avoid smoking, red wine, coffee and tea to the extent possible. Also, while composite can darken, it cannot be lightened. So if you are thinking about having your teeth whitened, it should be done before your tooth is bonded so that a composite shade can be selected to match the lighter color of your whitened teeth. If you whiten your teeth after bonding, the bonded tooth may not match all the rest. Finally, try not to bite your nails, hold writing implements in your mouth, or use your teeth in other ways that could put excessive force on the bonding material and chip it. With proper care, a bonded tooth should stay beautiful for 3 to 10 years.