Dental bonding is an alternative to veneers, and can be used as a restorative procedure for teeth that are chipped, cracked, discolored or misaligned. It is a special filling that can restore, reshape and rejuvenate your teeth, improving both the function and the appearance of your smile. By applying a thin layer of tooth-colored plastic to the front of the tooth and sculpting it like clay, your dentist may use bonding to correct chipped or cracked teeth, broken or misshapen teeth, stained teeth or spaces between teeth.
Dental Bonding Material
The dental bonding material is a composite resin (plastic) that hardens and fuses to the tooth when your dentist shines a special light on it. Once in place, the bonding material is shaped to correct the specific problem at hand, colored to match your natural teeth and polished until it’s smooth.
Dental Bonding Process
- An etching solution will be applied to the tooth or teeth that will be receiving the bonding material; this gently roughens the surface of the tooth for a stronger bond between the tooth and the plastic.
- A thin layer of the bonding resin is placed on the surface of your tooth and seals it in place using a special light. Several layers of resin may be added and hardened in turn. Each layer takes only a few minutes to harden.
- The bonding material is sculpted to the desired shape and it is colored to match the shade of your natural teeth.
- The bonding material is polished until it is entirely smooth.
The dental bonding procedure takes one to two hours. Its results last about 10 years.
Types of Dental Bonding
There are two main kinds of dental bonding: small, simple fillings like the ones described above that can be done in a single appointment, and more complex fillings that require at least two appointments and the placement of a temporary filling while the custom-shaped and -colored filling is made in a lab. Although they take longer, custom-made porcelain fillings are more natural-looking, stain-resistant and durable than ordinary bonded fillings.
Results of Dental Bonding
Bonded teeth look and function just like your natural teeth. The dental bonding material can be colored as well as molded, so it is often possible to match the shade of your teeth. When bonding is performed by an experienced dentist, people won’t be able to tell that you’ve had cosmetic work done on your teeth-except for how good your smile will look when the bonding is done!
The tooth is prepared for the procedure by lightly etching the surface and applying a bonding liquid. Once the liquid sets, Dr. Barrett applies a plastic resin and sculpts it into the desired shape. Once set, the resin is trimmed, smoothed and polished to a natural appearance.