Bonding is a restorative procedure that can be used to address cracked, chipped or discolored teeth. It is also used to close spaces between the teeth, enhance the length of the teeth or alter their shape. There are even instances in which bonding is applied as an alternative to amalgam fillings or to protect any exposed portion of the tooth root due to receding gums.
Bonding entails little to no removal of the natural tooth enamel and thus, it allows patients to retain more of the natural structure and health of their existing teeth. It is also less extensive and more affordable than more advanced restorations such as the application of dental crowns or porcelain veneers. Dental bonding can usually be completed in a single office visit and in most instances, anesthesia is not needed. Anesthesia is only necessary if bonding is being used to fill a cavity.
How Does Dental Bonding Work?
Your dentist will prepare your tooth by lightly etching the surface and then applying the bonding solution. As the solution sets, plastic resin is applied and sculpted to the desired specifications. Once the resin is shaped, it is polished and smoothed to achieve a flawless and natural appearance. An ultraviolet light is used to expedite the hardening process. After the work is done, the treated teeth will have an evenly-matched and polished look.
Bonding can significantly improve the appearance of a chipped, misshapen or otherwise damaged tooth. It is important to note, however, that the plastic resin used in bonding does not equal the strength of natural tooth enamel. This makes it more likely to break, chip or stain than the natural tooth surface. Dental bonding lasts approximately three to five years.
The Benefits And Drawbacks Of Dental Bonding
Dental bonding is fast, affordable and effective for addressing a broad range of aesthetic issues in the mouth. Minimal enamel is removed during these treatments and more of the natural tooth structure is retained. With dental bonding, little advanced preparation is required and one or more teeth can be bonded in a single visit. Conversely, crowns and veneers require more extensive removal of natural tooth enamel and the tooth coverings must be manufactured in an outside lab. Lab manufacturing increases both the cost and the amount of time that these procedures take.
While dental bonding is significantly cheaper and easier than the placement of crowns or veneers, the resins used in this procedure are not as stain-resistant or strong. Given the limitations of bonding, many dentists believe that these treatments are most suitable for effecting minor cosmetic changes. These can include the short-term correction of cosmetic defects and aesthetic improvements in areas with minimal bite pressure such as at the front teeth. Your dentist will review your needs and aesthetic goals to determine whether or not this procedure is right for you.