There are times when you might need a little cosmetic touch up to maintain a healthy, attractive smile. Tooth bonding also referred to as dental bonding, is among the easiest and most affordable dental restorative procedures. It provides an economical solution for broken, chipped or stained teeth among other minor cosmetic dental issues. Unlike dental veneers that are manufactured in a lab and need a customised mould to fit appropriately, dental bonding can be done within a single visit. In this article, we will discuss what is bonding in dentistry and how it is used.
What is tooth bonding?
Tooth bonding is a dental cosmetic procedure that involves attaching artificial material known as a composite resin to natural tooth structure. This procedure aims at concealing imperfections such as cracks, stains and minor chips for a perfect, natural-looking smile. The composite resin used can be shaped and polished to match the other teeth. Composite resin can also be used to fill gaps, conceal discolouration, lengthen or reshape teeth.
Under what condition is dental bonding considered?
- To repair cracked or chipped teeth
- To close any spaces between teeth
- To make your teeth look longer
- To change the shape of your teeth
- To fix decayed teeth
- To enhance the appearance of stained or discoloured teeth
- As an alternative to amalgam fillings
- To protect part of your tooth’s root that might have been made visible as a result of receding gums
How is it done? The procedure
Tooth bonding does not involve much-advanced preparation. Anaesthesia is also not often needed unless the bonding is for filling a decayed tooth.
The bonding process
With the help of a shade guide, your dentist will choose a composite resin that closely resembles the colour of your teeth. After that, they will proceed to roughen the surface of your tooth and then apply a conditioning agent. This process helps the composite resin to stick to the tooth. Once the resin material is put on your teeth, it is moulded and smoothened to the desired shape.
The next step entails hardening the material using a special light, which aids in bonding the material to the tooth. Finally, your dentist will shape, trim and polish the bonded material so that it matches the gloss of your natural teeth.
How long does the procedure take?
The process takes about 15 to 45 minutes per tooth depending on the procedure involved.
Who are the ideal candidates for this procedure?
This procedure is highly recommended for people with;
Chipped teeth may be as a result of a fall, a bicycle accident, a car crash among other events. Immediately treating chipped teeth not only does improve your smile but also prevents them from further damage.
Sometimes, tooth stains or discolouration does not respond well to professional teeth whitening treatments. What’s more, for people who suffer from dental sensitivity may not be ideal. Since these stains only affect a few teeth, tooth bonding can help resolve the issue.
Dental gaps might make your teeth appear asymmetrical, misshapen or misaligned. With dental bonding, patients have the option to close these gaps or make them smaller.
Teeth bonding material can be used to add width or length to teeth. It can be added to the bottom of your teeth for a more even edge or to make your teeth more proportionate. The result is a beautiful smile that complements and improves your natural facial structure.
Facial injury, bruxism, or chewing on hard objects like ice can cause dental fractures. A cracked tooth might affect your dental health as well as your smile. Fortunately, dental bonding can help conceal these cracks.
Slightly Crooked Teeth
Your dentist might use bonding material to correct any teeth that are slightly out of alignment. They can reshape the tooth and then apply resin to make it sit flush against the other teeth.
Some patients might opt to undergo dental bonding after getting their braces removed to further enhance the results of their orthodontic treatment. The bonding material may also mask any staining caused by braces.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of dental bonding?
- Conservative treatment
- Helps preserve most of your natural teeth compared to other options
- Uses durable, lasting material
- Provides natural looking results
The bonding material can become stained
The bonding material used is porous and can become discoloured after a while. Cigarette smoke, tea, coffee, and red wine can stain the material used to bond your teeth making them stand out from the rest. Smokers are advised to consider an alternative cosmetic dentistry option.
Due to these limitations, some dentists recommend it for minor cosmetic changes, for correction of teeth with low-pressure bite, especially the front teeth and for temporary correction of dental cosmetic defects. That is why we recommend that you consult your dentist about the best possible aesthetic approach to your specific problem.
Teeth bonding consultation
A teeth bonding consultation with your dentist is essential. It determines what dental issues can be solved with tooth bonding. Your dentists will begin by conducting an examination of your teeth, which may include x-rays and a thorough evaluation of your gums and teeth. During this consultation, the dentist will explain if cosmetic bonding can help resolve any dental issues you might be having, such as tooth decay, gaps, short teeth, tooth discolouration, chipped or cracked teeth among other conditions.
If your teeth are extensively damaged, your dentist may recommend alternative restorative or cosmetic treatments that can meet more long-term goals.
Caring for Bonded Teeth
Within the first two days of your treatment, patients are advised to avoid cigarettes, dark beverages, and any other staining substances. After these 48 hours, your bonded teeth may not need any additional special care. However, you should avoid chewing on pens, biting your nails or any other hard objects that might chip the material. Also, continue to practice good oral hygiene and attend your regular dental appointments for cleaning and checkups.
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Savina Clinic – Dental & Implantology Centres are friendly, state-of-the-art practices in Malta and Gozo dedicated to comprehensive quality dental care. Savina Dental is an innovative dental practice in Malta and prides itself on the high-quality customer service, low waiting room times, attention to detail and the advanced dental technology at their disposal.
Dr Joseph Xuereb
Dental & Implant Surgeon. Principal
Savina Dental Clinics