Most people are familiar with procedures such as teeth whitening, veneer placement, and denture fitting, but one procedure that you may have yet to hear of is dental bonding. Bonding, sometimes called composite bonding or teeth bonding, involves applying a tooth-colored composite resin directly to your existing teeth. It is most commonly used to correct chips, cracks, and discoloration or to improve the shape of your teeth.
Dental bonding is an excellent option for people who want to enhance their smile but are concerned about the cost or permanence of procedures like veneers or implants. The composite used in dental bonding is the same putty-like resin that your dentist would use for a filling or to help protect the exposed root of a tooth for patients who have experienced gum recession. It is important to note that bonding is not a cover-up for poor dental health and cannot be done on a patient with significant gum disease, tooth decay, or other serious oral health problems. These issues will need to be treated before a bonding procedure.
Unlike being fitted for veneers, bonding does not usually require significant enamel removal, which means the process is reversible. This less permanent aspect does mean that bonding will need more frequent touchups, usually every three to ten years, whereas veneers last about ten to twenty years. Bonding also does not require your dentist to work near the pain-sensing nerve in your tooth, so it is relatively painless and can be done without anesthesia. You may experience sensitivity after the procedure, but this should go away fairly quickly.
During the bonding process, your dentist will roughen the surface of your tooth and then apply a conditioning liquid, both of which are required to help the resin stick to your tooth. The resin is then applied to your tooth and molded into the desired shape and smoothness. After achieving the desired effect, the resin is cured using a special light that hardens it and bonds it to your tooth. After the resin has cured, your dentist will make any necessary final adjustments and polish the resin to achieve a natural-looking shine. The entire procedure typically takes between 30-60 minutes per tooth.
Cosmetic dentistry is a great way to help you feel more confident with your smile, and if you’re considering a cosmetic procedure, you should talk with your dentist about bonding as you discuss your options.