Teeth Bonding

What Is Teeth Bonding?

Teeth bonding is a procedure in which a tooth-colored resin material (a durable plastic material) is applied and hardened with a special light, which ultimately "bonds" the material to the tooth to restore or improve a person's smile.

Why Is Teeth Bonding Done?

Teeth bonding is an option that can be considered:

To repair decayed teeth (composite resins are used to fill cavities)

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To repair chipped or cracked teeth

To improve the appearance of discolored teeth

To close spaces between teeth

To make teeth look longer

To change the shape of teeth

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As a cosmetic alternative to amalgam fillings

To protect a portion of the tooth's root that has been exposed when gums recede

Teeth Bonding Procedure

Preparation. Little advance preparation is needed for dental bonding. Anesthesia is often not necessary unless the bonding is being used to fill a decayed tooth, the tooth needs to be drilled to change its shape, or the chip is near the nerve. Your dentist will use a shade guide to select a composite resin color that will closely match the color of your tooth.

The bonding process. The dentist will roughen the surface of the tooth and apply a conditioning liquid. These procedures help the bonding material adhere to the tooth. The tooth-colored, putty-like resin is applied, molded, and smoothed to the desired shape. The material is hardened with a bright (usually blue) light or laser. After the material hardens, your dentist will further trim and shape it, then polish it to match the sheen of the rest of the tooth surface.

Time to completion. Teeth bonding takes about 30 to 60 minutes per tooth to complete.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Teeth Bonding

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Advantages: Teeth bonding is among the easiest and least expensive of cosmetic dental procedures. Unlike veneers and crowns, which are customized tooth coverings that must be manufactured in a lab, bonding usually can be done in one office visit unless several teeth are involved. Another advantage, compared with veneers and crowns, is that the least amount of tooth enamel is removed. Also, unless dental bonding is done to fill a cavity, anesthesia is usually not required.

Disadvantages: Dental bonding does not resist stains as well as crowns. The bonding materials do not last as long nor are as strong as crowns, veneers, or fillings. Also, bonding materials can chip and break off of the tooth.

Because of some of the limitations of dental bonding, some dentists view it as best suited for small cosmetic changes, for short-term correction of cosmetic problems, and for correcting teeth in areas of very low bite pressure (front teeth, for example). Talk with your dentist about the best cosmetic approach for you.

Bonded Teeth Care

Because bonding material can chip, it is important to avoid such habits as biting fingernails, chewing on pens, ice or other hard food objects, or using your bonded teeth to tear things open. If you do notice any sharp edges on a bonded tooth or if your tooth feels odd when you bite down, call your dentist.

Otherwise, bonded teeth don’t need special care. Simply follow good oral hygiene practices.

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Brush your teeth at least twice a day.

Floss at least once a day.

Rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash once or twice a day.

See your dentist for regular professional checkups and cleanings.

Lifespan of Bonded Teeth

The lifespan of bonding materials for the teeth depends on how much bonding was done and your oral habits.

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Bonded teeth don’t have the same strength as your natural teeth, and some habits can shorten their lifespan. If you tend to bite down hard, for example, you may break the bonding material off the teeth. Also, if you smoke or drink a lot of dark beverages, such as coffee or red wine, your bonding material will stain more quickly and need replacement sooner.

Typically, bonding material lasts from three years up to about 10 years before needing to be touched up or replaced.

Cost of Teeth Bonding

The cost of dental bonding may vary depending on where you live. Generally, it can range from $100 to $400 per tooth. Check with your dental insurance company to find out if the cost of bonding might be fully or partially covered.

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