Dental bonding is a cosmetic dental procedure with a wide variety of uses. Dental bonds allow us to repair chipped, cracked, and other kinds of broken teeth. Dental bonds can also fill in gaps between teeth, make teeth taller, or change the shade of the tooth.
Dental bonding is a cosmetic procedure. The composite resin used for bonding is also used as an alternative to silver amalgam fillings. Another use for the bonding material is to protect tooth roots when the gum recedes. The roots of your teeth are below the gumline and do not have protective enamel. This makes them more vulnerable to cavities and decay, as well as being more sensitive. Dental bonds are used to protect these tooth roots and help you be more comfortable in the process.
How Dental Bonding Works
The tooth-colored resin your dentist uses is a durable plastic material. It is prepared during your dental appointment. For some procedures, the bond can be applied after preparation and cleaning on the tooth. For other procedures, like a dental cavity, your dentist will need to drill or polish the tooth first. Your dentist may give you some local anesthesia to help with the pain.
At the very least, the tooth is roughened. Then a conditioning liquid is applied. This helps ensure a proper bond between the tooth and the resin. Last, the bonding material is put on and shaped as desired, depending on the procedure. Once the shaping is completed, a light hardens the material. This hardening process allows your dentist to trim, polish, and finish the color of the tooth.
It can take from 30 minutes to an hour for the entire procedure per tooth. You might experience some discomfort after. You may also need time for the numbness to go away if you were treated with anesthesia. It should only take a few hours for your mouth to feel completely back to normal.
When are Dental Bonds not a Good Solution for Teeth?
When teeth have severe decay or damage, there are better solutions than bonding. The composite bonding material can only be as strong as the tooth beneath it. Cavities, for example, have to be drilled entirely before applying the bonding material. Otherwise, the decayed part of the tooth will continue to infect and spread.
If a tooth is decayed enough to cause concern, we may recommend other solutions. For example, if the pulp is infected, a root canal therapy treatment is used to save the healthy parts of the tooth. A dental crown may be the best if the pulp is still healthy in a back tooth, but the tooth is decayed. This can preserve the core of the tooth and restore your smile. Other cosmetic procedures, like dental veneers, are solutions for severe decay and discoloration.
What to do After Getting Dental Bonds
Your dentist may recommend you wait a while to eat or drink after getting a bond. This depends on the type of bonding material used and which tooth in your mouth was bonded. After that, there are no serious restrictions. Dental bonds are made to last many years with good dental hygiene. They can become weak over time and more vulnerable to cracking or chipping, like when you chew on hard foods. If a bond ever breaks or wears down, your dentist can repair it like when the original bond was applied.