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What is Dental Bonding?

Dental bonding is a common dental procedure where material, either composite or an adhesive, is permanently bonded to your teeth. Dental bonding is a step that can be used in combination with other treatments including a filling a gap in between teeth, fixing a chipped or cracked tooth, or even improving a tooth with discoloration. Dental bonding is a quick procedure and can be completed in a single dentist visit.

When is Dental Bonding Used?

The dental bonding treatment is one of the easiest, quickest, and lowest cost treatment techniques. In many cases, dental bonding is used for cosmetic issues. One of the two dental bonding approaches, direct composite bonding, involves the application of a tooth-colored putty to the teeth. For a dentist with experience, dental bonding can be used to shape and polish teeth to enhance the aesthetic of the teeth and overall smile.

This tooth-colored composite can also be used to fill or shrink the space between teeth and to change the shape of teeth. Another use for the composite is as a fill between the gum and the tooth root. In this case, the composite protects the root of the tooth if it has become exposed due to receding gums.

The Steps

The first step of direct composite dental bonding, is when the dentist makes sure the color of the composite to be used will match the natural tooth color. After the composite is selected, the surface of the tooth to be treated is prepared for the bonding. This is sometimes done with a liquid coating agent used to further ensure the bonding material adheres to the teeth.

Once the tooth is prepared the dentist will apply the tooth-colored composite. The composite is like a putty material that can be molded, shaped, and sculpted to match the natural teeth. The time it takes to apply the bonding depends on the dentist. Although it is usually a quick process, the dentist may take their time to get the shape they feel confident with. After the dentist is satisfied with the bonding, a laser or an ultraviolet light is usually used to harden the composite. The last step of the process is to polish the new tooth surface so that it matches the rest of the naturally teeth perfectly.

Generally, the entire dental bonding treatment process takes approximately 30 minutes to an hour to complete. If more than one tooth needs to be treated, a dentist may suggest several visits for the treatment to be completed.

Post dental bonding treatment

After a treatment the dentist will generally provide warning that the bonding composite is not as strong as a natural tooth, and some caution should be used when chewing, eating, and flossing. Chewing hard materials or flossing can cause the bonding composite to chip away, which will require repair. With proper care, the dental bonding can last several years before any repair is necessary. Additionally, tea, coffee, wine, or nicotine can stain the composite and should be avoided for at least a few days after the procedure.

Interesting in learning more about dental bonding? Learn how bonding can fix gaps between teeth