Teeth Bonding - A Cosmetic Dental Bonding Guide

Teeth Bonding • Dental Bonding

Dental bonding / Teeth bonding is a cosmetic procedure to restore or improve a person's smile, in which a dentist applies a tooth-colored resin material (plastic) on a tooth which is hardened and bonded to the natural tooth structure with the use of a special curing light.

What is Tooth Bonding

Tooth bonding is used by cosmetic dentists to correct a variety of tooth imperfections. It is the suitable treatment for small defects in the teeth such as to correct tooth discolorations, lighten the tooth color, close tooth gaps, repair chips, or adjust the shape of teeth.

Using composite materials that match the shade, translucency and texture of your teeth, dental tooth bonding is a cosmetic dentistry technique that can significantly improve the appearance of your smile.

While the procedure is usually cosmetic, it can also be used for restorative purposes (to repair broken or decayed front teeth). The success of a dental bonding procedure depends on the expertise and artistic skills of your cosmetic dentist, but it can not match the level of excellence that you can achieve with porcelain veneers. It is advised that you seek for an expert cosmetic dentist to get the best results from dental bonding.

What cosmetic dental problems can Teeth Bonding fix?

Dental bonding is commonly used to:

  • repair decayed teeth (composite resins can be used to fill cavities)
  • mask chipped or cracked teeth
  • restore broken tooth parts
  • improve the appearance of discolored teeth, when tooth bleaching has been not effective.
  • close spaces/gaps between teeth
  • make teeth look longer
  • change the shape of teeth
  • as a cosmetic alternative to amalgam fillings
  • cover a part of the tooth's root that has been exposed due to gums recession

The Dental Bonding Procedure

The tooth bonding process is a simple procedure that takes about 30-60 minutes per tooth and is usually completed in a single dental visit. Anesthesia is often not necessary unless the bonding is being used to fill a decayed tooth.

  • The dentist first selects the composite resin color that will more closely matches the natural color of your teeth using a shade card.
  • After choosing the color, the dentist slightly abrades or etches the surface of the tooth to roughen it.
  • Then the surface of the tooth is etched with a gel that makes it more porous in order to help the bonding material adhere better to the tooth. Next, the prepared area of the tooth is coated with a bonding liquid, which is set by applying a special light.
  • Then the paste-like composite resin is applied on the tooth, sometimes in several layers, using a light specialized to harden each layer. Application in multiple layers helps to mimic the depth of color and the translucency of a natural tooth.
  • The dentist will mold and smooth it to the desired shape.
  • Finally, the composite resin is hardened with a high-intensity ultraviolet light or laser.
  • After the bonding material hardens, your dentist will further trim it until it has the proper shape.
  • The final step of the tooth bonding procedure is to polish the material’s surface until it matches the rest of the tooth.

Cosmetic Tooth Bonding vs. Crowns and Veneers

Tooth bonding, crowns and veneers are a group of cosmetic dental procedures that in some case can be used alternatively to improve problems with the teeth appearance.

Advantages of Dental Bonding

  • Tooth bonding is a less expensive, faster and less complicated alternative to crowns and veneers.
  • Unlike veneers and crowns that require more than 2-3 dental visits, cosmetic dental bonding can be completed in one single appointment.
  • There is no need for taking impressions or waiting for the dental lab to prepare the veneer or crown.
  • Bonding requires no or minimal removal of tooth structure compared to veneers and crowns. Therefore no anesthesia is needed for cosmetic bonding treatments.

Disadvantages of Dental Bonding

  • Composite materials used in dental bonding can not resist stains as efficiently as the ceramic material of porcelain crowns and veneers.
  • Bonding materials do not last as long nor are as strong as the other restorative procedures. They can more easily chip and break off the tooth.

Dental bonding is more suitable for small cosmetic changes, for temporary corrections, and only for teeth areas that have to sustain very low bite pressure (front teeth).

How to take care of Bonded Teeth

Tooth bonding can last for several years, depending not only on the quality of the initial treatment but also on how you take care of your teeth afterwards. Some staining on the margins of the bonding after several years is a usual problem that may require some touch-up work.

The following instructions will help you to maintain your bonded teeth for many years before teeth bonding has to be repaired or replaced.

  • Good oral hygiene is important for maintaining the results for many years. Brush teeth after each meal and floss at least once a day.
  • Visit your dentist for check-up and professional tooth cleaning every six months. Special care is needed during professional cleaning not to damage the bonded surfaces.
  • Avoid abrasive toothpastes that could dull the shine on bonding and make it more susceptible to stain.
  • Be careful not to bite hard foods with the biting edges of the front teeth if they have been bonded.
  • Avoid biting fingernails, chewing on pens, or other hard objects with bonded teeth.
  • Reduce the consumption of tea, coffee, red wine and substances that can stain the bonding material.
  • Stop smoking.

How Much Does Dental Bonding Cost?

Cosmetic tooth bonding is a medium cost cosmetic procedure ranging in cost from $100 to $400 per tooth.

As a cosmetic procedure it is not usually covered by dental insurance, unless dental bonding is part of a restorative procedure such as to repair a broken or decayed front tooth.

If you want to improve your smile’s appearance you should first visit a cosmetic dentist for consultation. Cosmetic dentists have the expertise to analyze your cosmetic needs, and propose a complete plan of cosmetic dental procedures that will best fit your expectations and finances.

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