Each one of us is not lucky enough to have a perfect set of pearly whites. We often notice minor nicks and notches in our teeth especially our front teeth. These imperfections can be yellowing, brown stains and minor rotations, a gap between teeth or even mismatched sizes of our front teeth. Teeth bonding is a cosmetic dentistry procedure where your dentist applies a tooth-colored plastic material on or between your front teeth to correct the imperfections.
There are mainly two common types of bonding procedures and they are composite bonding and Veneers (better known as Laminates).
Teeth bonding makes the underlying natural teeth fragile, so proper maintenance and care of bonded tooth are essential.
Apart from knowing the procedure and types of teeth bonding, it is imperative to know when we need this procedure. We also need to know the longevity of bonded teeth and the pros and cons of teeth bonding.
What is dental or teeth bonding?
Bonding is a procedure where the dentist applies a tooth-colored plastic material (dental composite) to repair a decayed, chipped, fractured or discolored tooth. Veneering is another method of dental bonding other than composite.
Veneers are manufactured in a dental laboratory and require a customized mold to achieve a proper fit in a single visit. The procedure is called bonding because of the material which bonds to the tooth.
Indications stating the need for teeth bonding
You can reach out to your dentist for teeth bonding if you see one of the following imperfections in your teeth –
Spaces between your front teeth
Spacing and diastema between your teeth are always a reason to see your dentist and discuss treatment options. Teeth bonding for gaps is a suitable treatment in most cases because it is a non-invasive and fast method to fill the gaps compared to conventional orthodontic treatment.
Yellow or brown stains on teeth
Composite and veneer cover up all staining on teeth. Teeth Bleaching is another option but involves chemical treatment and bonding last longer than bleaching.
Cracked, chipped or fractured teeth
If you see a part of your teeth chipped off, cracked or fractured, you can see a dentist because teeth bonding will save the tooth from further damage.
Sealing off a root canal treated tooth
Decayed teeth are corrected with tooth-colored composite for esthetic reasons.
Improving sizes and shapes of mismatched or misaligned teeth
Mismatched and misaligned teeth can be corrected by reducing the natural teeth and covering them up with composite or veneers.
Types of teeth bonding
Bonding can be of two types depending upon the requirements of the teeth. Bonding is done using either composite resins or porcelain/composite veneers to cover up the surfaces of affected teeth to give a good, even appearance to these teeth.
The type of bonding involved using composite is followed by reduction of the teeth to be treated. The filling is not pre-fabricated in a lab.
Instead, it is just built upon the broken tooth after acid treating the tooth. It is a less expensive and faster method than veneering.
A veneer is made using porcelain (fabricated glass) to match the color and shape of your tooth in a lab. Porcelain veneers are stronger, while composite veneers are less expensive.
With porcelain veneers, the dentist makes an impression of the cut tooth and then the impression goes to the lab for making of the veneers.
While more expensive, a porcelain veneer gives a better color match to your teeth and typically lasts for five to 10 years depending on how well they are maintained. (2)
Procedure for teeth bonding
The affected tooth is cut or prepared in a way that it is best suited to receive the veneer or composite. Anesthesia may or may not be needed which depends upon the depth of the preparation of tooth.
How it’s done
- Your dentist will use a shade guide to select the color of composite resin that matches best with the color of the tooth most closely placed around the affected teeth.
- Once your dentist has figured out the color, he will acid etch (rough up) the surface of the tooth. The tooth will be coated lightly with a conditioning liquid, which helps the bonding material adhere know as a bonding agent.
- After the tooth is prepared, your dentist will apply the tooth-colored, putty-like resin (composite). The resin is then molded and smoothed until it’s the proper shape. Then the material is hardened with ultraviolet light or laser.
- After the bonding material hardens, your dentist will further trim and shape it. Then polish the material until it matches the rest of the tooth.
- It takes up to an hour or 30 minutes to complete this entire procedure.
The composite resin used for bonding isn’t as durable as a natural tooth. Biting your fingernails or chewing on hard substances can chip off the material. Bonding usually lasts several years before it needs to be repaired.
Longevity of teeth bonding
Veneers will last much longer than composite bonding, but you should be able to wear them for up to many years. Nonetheless, this means taking proper post-treatment care of your teeth by avoiding hard candy, ice cubes and similar substances that can fracture the composite.
Another factor which plays a part in the longevity of the bonding is the nature of the area bonded. You have to keep in mind that the composite resin isn’t nearly as durable as your natural enamel.
Pros and Cons of teeth bonding
1. Easily whiten your teeth
Drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes or eating highly pigmented foods eventually take a toll on your teeth, turning them an unattractive shade of yellow or brown.
Stained enamel can be bleached at home or by your dentist, but the effect will not be permanent. It will again become stained.
A more natural way to whiten your teeth for good is dental veneers. Veneers are mainly stain-resistant, so you won’t have to worry about discoloration or need to have your veneers whitened.
2. Fix minor cosmetic problems
Slightly crooked or gapped teeth are treated with braces or other orthodontic treatments, but these problems can sometimes correct with veneers. Veneers are attached only to the front of your teeth so although they don’t change their positions, they camouflage minor orthodontic problems once they’re applied.
It’s important to note that veneers can’t always replace orthodontic treatment, and your dentist may refer you to an orthodontist instead of placing veneers.
3. Replace damaged enamel
Enamel is strong, but it may still be worn down from rigorous tooth brushing or eaten away by highly acidic foods and drinks. The stomach acid associated with acid reflux disease can also damage your enamel.
Veneers are an excellent treatment for teeth with enamel abrasion or enamel erosion.
The price of veneers will vary based on your location, your dentist and the number of teeth that you want to be restored. But one thing is for sure that they are expensive.
2. Increased sensitivity
People experience an increase in tooth sensitivity usually after getting veneers. Tooth sensitivity is uncomfortable and inconvenient, but you can manage it with the right products.
3. Irreversible procedure
Veneers are considered permanent because your dentist needs to change the structure of your natural teeth to place them correctly. In this way, the outer layer of enamel may be removed to make room.
Dental veneers are an excellent way to hide discolored, crooked or damaged teeth, but it’s important to weigh the pros and cons that come with the territory before getting them.
Make an appointment with your dentist to find out if dental veneers are a suitable solution for you. (4)
How to maintain bonded teeth?
It’s important to care for bonded teeth just as you would take care of your natural teeth. Teeth bonding offers an inexpensive, lasting method that improves the appearance of teeth. With the right care, your smile is going look amazing for many years.
- Avoid stain-inducing beverages such as tea, coffee, red wine and other substances which can stain the resin used in bonding.
- Practice good oral hygiene to keep your newly bonded tooth beautiful. It is essential to brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily.
- Avoid nail-biting and chewing on hard substances.
- Wearing mouth guards is advisable if you are either a sports person or suffering from teeth grinding or bruxism.
Final words on teeth bonding
Teeth bonding is an expensive but a good solution to a vast array of dental problems from tooth decay to crooked teeth. Since this process is irreversible, consulting your dentist and looking into other options as well as into the pros and cons of bonding is essential.
Taking care of bonded tooth is natural and should be done religiously. People who are in the public eye for professional reasons often seek this treatment, but aesthetics is essential to everyone.
So, if you feel you need perfect 32 pearly white teeth, teeth bonding is one the best cosmetic dentistry procedures for you.