Nowadays, cosmetic dentistry has a variety of different treatments aimed at improving the aesthetics of your smile. Dental bonding is one such treatment. Dental bonding, also commonly referred to as cosmetic bonding, works by applying an enamel-like material to the surface of your teeth to correct discolorations or structural issues such as chips, fillings, or gaps. Dental bonding provides an easy alternative to other cosmetic dental treatments while yielding similar results.
Dental bonding is especially ideal for correcting small issues that do not require the use of a dental crown or veneers. In addition, dental bonding is known as a transitional bonding method. This means that dental bonding allows an individual to gradually transition to a more permanent restoration method in the future.
How Dental Bonding is Applied
Dental bonding uses a composite resin material for its durability and ability to blend with natural tooth enamel. The application process usually takes about 30 minutes to an hour per tooth to complete. To apply this composite resin, Dr. Sadati will first use a shade guide to determine the color of your natural teeth so that the composite resin can be accurately matched. He will then prepare your teeth which may need to be slightly reshaped so that the composite resin will bond properly to their surface. The final preparation is to roughen the surface of the tooth for better adhesion and then apply a conditioning liquid.
After the color has been matched and the tooth has been prepared, the composite resin will be applied to the surface of the tooth. When applied to the tooth, the composite resin is a soft putty that can be shaped and smoothed accordingly into the desired shape. After the composite resin putty has been properly shaped to the tooth, it will be hardened using a special curing light. Once the composite resin has been hardened, any final shape alterations can be made. Then, the composite resin will be polished to blend with the surrounding enamel.
Once your dental bonding procedure is over, you will be able to eat and return to your normal activities. However, if anesthetic was used, you will need to wait until the effects of the anesthetic wear off before eating to avoid biting your tongue or cheeks. Depending on your individual case, anesthetic may or may not be used. Dental bonding usually does not cause any type of pain or discomfort, however if the area being treated has deep decay or was causing pain prior to the procedure, then there might be slight discomfort. In these cases, anesthetics are generally used to maintain your comfort.
Why Dental Bonding?
- It’s easy: after only 30-60 minutes per tooth, you will leave the dentist’s office with a finely-shaped and restored smile that requires no extensive recovery period. There is also no additional care beyond your usual dental routine required to maintain dental bonding. Simply continue to follow Dr. Sadati’s oral hygiene instructions and avoid detrimental behaviors such as chewing hard objects or using your teeth as an opener.
- It’s effective: once applied, the composite resin is highly durable and can last anywhere from 3-10 years depending on its location in your mouth and your dental habits.
- It’s versatile: dental bonding corrects a wide range of issues including discolorations, chips, cracks, and gaps. Dental bonding can also be used to make teeth appear longer, to change the overall shape of the teeth, to protect exposed tooth roots when the gums recede, or as an alternative to metal fillings.
- It’s quick: Dental bonding can be completed in a single appointment. Also, since dental bonding can correct a variety of issues all in the same treatment, this means less time spent in the dental chair and less dental appointments.
- It’s affordable: dental bonding is considered to be one of the most affordable cosmetic dental treatments. On average, dental bonding costs $100-$400 per tooth, which is far cheaper than the alternatives of dental crowns or veneers. With dental bonding, you may also be able to obtain partial coverage through your dental insurance company.
- It preserves your natural enamel: when compared to dental crowns or veneers, dental bonding requires the least amount of enamel removal. This means that your natural tooth structure is preserved, which adds strength to the restoration.
- It can be altered: dental bonding is one of the few cosmetic dental treatments that can be reversible. The main benefit of this is that you can use dental bonding as a long-term, but temporary solution to enhance your smile until you are ready for a more permanent solution. Many people opt for dental bonding while they wait until they are ready for more permanent cosmetic dental treatments.
Main Drawbacks of Dental Bonding
- They can become stained: because dental bonding is generally not a permanent solution, the composite resin materials used can be prone to developing stains over time. Substances like coffee, tea, red wine, and cigarette smoke should be avoided or minimized to reduce possible stains.
- Less durable: as compared to veneers and dental crowns, dental bonding is less durable and more prone to chips. However, this is to be expected because dental bonding is considered to be a transitional bonding substance, meaning it is not designed for permanent use.
Overall, dental bonding can offer a wide range of benefits for someone who is looking for a transitional solution to discolored or damaged teeth. While the effects from dental bonding will not last as long as dental crowns or veneers, they will still improve your smile aesthetics and function until these other methods can be used. Dental bonding is also an ideal cosmetic dental treatment for smaller imperfections that don’t necessarily require the use of dental crowns or veneers.