Composite Bonding is commonly used to:
- Reduce unsightly spaces or gaps between teeth
- Repair or fix cracked or chipped teeth
- Hide faded or discolored areas on the surface of a tooth
- Cosmetic alternative to an amalgam filling
A composite material such as a resin or a plastic will bond to an existing tooth and is frequently used to enhance your smile or improve the appearance of your natural teeth. Composite bonding requires that only a small portion of the original tooth be removed, unlike crowns or veneers. A shade guide will be used by the dentist to determine the proper resin color to match your natural teeth. It can also be polished to better match other teeth.
The Bonding Procedure
Once the proper color is decided upon, the dentist will ?etch? or roughen the tooth?s surface. A conditioning liquid is then applied to help the bonding material adhere to the tooth. The putty-like, tooth-colored resin will be applied and smoothed and molded to the proper shape. A laser or ultraviolet light will be utilized to harden the resin. There will likely be further trimming and shaping once the bonding material hardens. The dentist will then complete the process with polishing to match the sheen of the remainder of the tooth?s surface.
- The relatively inexpensive process does not interfere with the original structure of the tooth
- The bonding process is fast, generally requiring one hour or less
- Bonding can be completed in one visit as opposed to veneers and crowns, which must be sent away from the office to a lab
- Various shades are available, allowing you to find a better match to your teeth?s natural color
- Requires minimal preparation
- In general, anesthesia will not be required unless a decayed tooth is being filled
No special care is required for bonded teeth. Routine oral hygiene habits should be continued such as brushing and flossing. A regular schedule for check-ups and cleanings should be all that is required to maintain the bonding. Keep in mind, however, that composite resins do not last as long nor are they as durable as crowns and veneers, so may require retouching or replacement later.
Composite bonds also tend to stain, so be sure to avoid substances such as tobacco, red wine, candy, tea and coffee. Habits such as biting your nails and chewing on objects like ice or pens can also damage the bonding and result in sharp edges. With proper care, bonding can last as long as ten years.