Cosmetic dental bonding is an easy and conservative way to repair damage or make esthetic changes to your front teeth. These changes might be the repair of discoloration, correction of tooth position or closing spaces between your teeth. Dental bonding utilizes a tooth-colored, plastic material called “composite” that is layered onto the tooth. Composite is a very versatile material that is also routinely for small or large fillings.
What Should I expect?
Cosmetic dental bonding can be completed in a limited number of appointments. If the goal is simply to repair or replace old fillings, a single appointment is all that is necessary. For more complex esthetic changes we may suggest multiple appointments and begin the process with a thorough examination of your teeth, gums, jaw muscles and joints. We will spend time together discussing the esthetic outcomes you are hoping for and may work with photographs and a model to mock up these changes before we begin the dental bonding process. In some instances the bonding can be accomplished without numbing your teeth. At the end of the application appointment the bonding process is completed and minor adjustments and changes can be made at subsequent appointments if necessary.
Cosmetic dental bonding is often used to close spaces between the teeth known as “diastemas”, or to correct small teeth that are referred to as “peg laterals”. We can also use this procedure to repair teeth after they are broken due to an accident.
How is bonding different from a porcelain veneer?
These two different dental procedures can be used in very similar situations. Dental bonding utilizes a soft plastic material to repair or restore the tooth, whereas a porcelain veneer is fabricated from a ceramic by a dental lab technician. The two materials have different physical and esthetic properties, different expected lifespans and require a different preparation of your natural tooth. Dr. Brady would be happy to discuss these two options and help you decide which choice best suites the goals you have for your teeth and appearance of your smile.
How long does dental bonding last?
No dentistry lasts forever; all restorative dental treatment has a lifespan. With bonding that lifespan can be variable and depends on your unique risk factors. The tooth under the bonding can still get a cavity. Maintaining good oral hygiene with brushing and flossing is essential and we can work with you to reduce your risk of getting cavities. It is also critical to make sure that the way your teeth come together when you bite, chew and speak does not put excessive force on the composite material bonded to your tooth. We also discuss with you how to extend the life of your dental bonding through certain food choices and oral care habits.