Do your teeth have chips, cracks, or wear? Not only do cracked and chipped teeth diminish the appearance of your smile, but they can also lead to serious dental health problems, including gum disease, cavities, infections, and even tooth loss.
Fortunately, dental bonding is a fast, affordable, and simple treatment for tooth cracks, chips, stains, cavities, and many other common dental issues. Let's take a closer look at dental bonding and how it helps create winning smiles.
Dental Bonding: An Overview
Dental bonding involves the application of a composite resin to the tooth's surface. The resin fills in cracks and gaps, essentially acting as artificial enamel.
During the application process, the resin is carefully sculpted and colored to match the shape, size, and appearance of your existing teeth. Once applied, it will stay in place for up to 10 years, typically requiring minimal maintenance.
Bonding is one of the most common types of dental treatments. It's a simple way to repair minor dental problems, prevent major issues, and improve your smile.
The Dental Bonding Process Explained
Most dental bonding procedures are completed in a single dental visit.
First, we'll clean the tooth (or teeth) thoroughly. The tooth's surface must be completely free from debris before applying the bonding material.
Next, we'll etch the tooth. Etching is a process that roughens the tooth's surface by dissolving a small portion of the enamel and dentin. Creating small "tags and tunnels" on the tooth helps the bonding material stay attached once applied.
Etching involves the application of a 30% phosphoric gel to the tooth for about 30 seconds, a safe, painless process.
Once the tooth surface is properly prepared, we'll apply the bonding material.
In most cases, we'll use a composite resin made from glass and acrylic compounds.
A plastic-based bonding material is also available, useful in specific situations. Before applying the material, we'll shade it to match the color of your natural teeth.
Then we'll carefully apply it to the cracked, chipped, or other damaged areas. The resin is applied in stages. The dentist will sculpt it to fit into the contours of your smile.
Finally, the application of a high-intensity dental light cures the bonding material. As the resin hardens and dries, it develops a chemical bond with the enamel on your teeth.
Once dry, the dentist will trim and shape the bonded material. It will now look and feel like your original tooth.
When is Bonding Used?
Composite bonding is both a cosmetic and restorative procedure. The resin treats a wide variety of dental issues, including the following:
- Chip/Crack Repair – Repairing chipped teeth is one of the most common dental bonding uses. Bonding is most effective on small to midsize chips that don't connect to the gumline.
- Staining – Bonding can whiten teeth by covering staining, including deeper stains resistant to other whitening methods. Plus, bonding whitens teeth in one visit.
- Gaps – Bonding can close spaces between teeth, which improves the look of your smile while also reducing bacterial buildup on your gums.
- Cavities – In some situations, dental bonding works as an alternative to traditional amalgam fillings because it matches the color of your teeth.
- Recessed Gums – The resin can cover nerves exposed by gum recession, which helps reduce pain.
- Misshapen Teeth – Bonding helps create an even, natural smile. It can help length and re-shape teeth, especially front teeth.
Dental issues usually have several potential treatments available. In many cases, teeth bonding is often the preferred option because it's non-invasive, effective, quick, and affordable.
Caring for Your Teeth Following the Bonding Procedure
Dental bonding doesn't require extensive aftercare, but there are some potential issues you'll need to keep in mind.
While the cured resin is strong, it's still more susceptible to scratching and chipping than natural enamel. You'll want to avoid biting down on anything solid, such as apples, ice, and similar foods.
Also, you'll want to protect your teeth by wearing a mouthguard when playing sports or other physical activities. While you can find universal ones, your best option is a custom mouthguard created by your dentist.
Cosmetic damage is another potential concern. Take care to avoid exposing your bonded teeth to foods and beverages that cause deep stainings, such as wine, coffee, and tobacco.
Frequently Asked Questions about Dental Bonding
We're here to answer all of your questions about dental bonding.
How Long Does the Dental Bonding Procedure Take?
Bonding takes between 30 minutes and one hour per tooth. The total tooth repair time depends on the type and extent of treatment needed. For example, the procedure will take longer if you have deep cracks across multiple teeth.
Does the Application of Resin Hurt?
No, dental bonding is a painless procedure. For most uses, such as tooth whitening and chip repair, no anesthesia is needed.
If the bonding is used to treat a cavity, the dentist may need to drill into the tooth, which typically involves the use of a local anesthetic.
How is Bonding Different from Veneers?
Veneers are thin strips of material placed on top of a stained or damaged tooth. They're stronger and more stain-resistant than bonding. However, they're also more expensive than bonding and require at least two dental visits to apply.
What is Cosmetic Bonding?
Cosmetic bonding is the use of composite resin to improve the shape, color, and general appearance of your teeth. It’s a common type of cosmetic dentistry.
Many times, cosmetic treatments have the added benefit of improving dental health. For example, repairing a crack helps prevent infections, which can spread to other teeth.
Lincoln Crossing is North Huntington's Choice for Dental Care
At Lincoln Crossing Dental Care, we're committed to delivering quality dental care at affordable prices. We'll listen to your concerns and help you explore all your care options, including the use of dental bonding to repair chipping, remove staining, and improve your smile.
To learn more about how we can help, contact us for a consultation. We proudly serve the families of North Huntington and throughout Westmoreland County.