What is dental bonding?
The process of composite dental bonding is used to repair broken, fractured, or discoloured teeth. A tooth coloured resin is usually used for this purpose – to make sure the results are not too obvious. It’s called bonding because that’s exactly what happens; the resin bonds to the surface of the tooth and is then shaped to create the desired effect. Dental bonding is also known as Composite bonding and also known as Composite veneers.
Dental bonding is a type of cosmetic dentistry, but it is far less invasive than having porcelain veneers or crowns fitted, as well as costing less. It’s also quicker than most other smile makeover treatments because there’s no need to wait for impressions to be sent to labs and veneers to be made up, composite bonding can take place with immediate results. Dental bonding is a truly reversible form of cosmetic dentistry.
When can dental bonding be used?
Dental bonding is the quickest, easiest way to fix tooth fractures or chips, and various other visual problems. It’s a simple, immediate procedure that can be completed in one sitting, with no anaesthetic required.
Probably the most common situation in which composite bonding is used is when a patient has chipped a tooth in an accident, this is purely a case of aesthetics as the root or pulp of the tooth is not affected. The resin is simply applied to the broken tooth, then shaped and polished until it looks good as new.
It’s also becoming more popular to use composite bonding instead of traditional amalgam fillings – this is because of concerns about the long-term effects of metal in the teeth and because resin can be made to look more natural. In the same way as fillings have always been administered the dental bonding can be applied to a fractured tooth and set with a special light to harden, in order to protect the inner workings of the tooth – the pulp and nerve endings – from infection or further damage. If the root has split as well as the enamel, the resin can also be used to fill the hole left by a root canal treatment.
What is the advantage of having dental bonding?
When teeth are prepared for porcelain veneers, some enamel or sometimes dentine is removed. This lost tooth tissue is irreversible and can lead to tooth sensitivity. With dental bonding no tooth tissue is removed and so no tooth sensitivity exists afterwards. Also should dental bonding fracture or debond, patients will be no worst off cosmetically than before they had the bonding applied. On the other-hand, if porcelain veneers fracture, if heavy tooth preparation has been carried out, a tooth stump will remain which will look awful cosmetically and will be very sensitive to cold air.
What happens in a dental bonding procedure?
Typically, your dentist won’t have to administer local anaesthetic if you’re undergoing dental bonding – so you might get away without the needles! If, however, your treatment is immediately following on from other surgical procedures, such as a root canal, you may already have had an injection.
Firstly, your dentist will chose the shade of resin that matches the rest of your teeth, and then go on to roughen the surface of the natural tooth so that the composite can bond tightly with the enamel. After that, the resin is smoothed over the affected area and shaped into the correct shape. To harden the material fully, ultraviolet lights are used – they will react with the chemical structure of the resin to cement it to the tooth.
When the dental bonding has been completed, all that’s left to do is neaten it to a satisfactory degree. Shaping and polishing it will make it look natural, no one will be able to tell the difference between your treated tooth and the rest of your teeth.
How long does dental bonding take to be done and how long will it last?
The length of the procedure depends on how many teeth need to be treated and to what extent. An extra appointment may be necessary if there is a lot of work to be done. A single tooth composite bonding can be carried out in 30-45 minutes by a cosmetic dentist.
Dental bonding will normally last for 3-5 years, more if you take care of them properly. Composite bonding stains more easily than porcelain veneers although composite bonding can be polished and repaired far more easily than porcelain veneers. If you chose a good quality cosmetic surgery for your treatment – such as the Pearl Dental Clinic in London – you will receive excellent care and a high standard of cosmetic dentistry.
Are there any alternatives to dental bonding?
Yes. If you are willing to have tooth preparation, porcelain veneers are an excellent alternative to composite bonding. Lumineers which are no tooth preparation porcelain veneers are also increasingly becoming popular amongst patients seeking smile makeovers. Dental bonding can be combined with teeth whitening to improve the colour of teeth and also change their shape to a more ideal shape.