Cosmetic bonding is a process in which your dentist uses specially formulated tooth-coloured material to repair minor defects on the surface of your teeth.
The bonding material itself is a type of composite resin — a tough, translucent mixture of plastic and glass components that mimics the pearly-white appearance of your teeth to a high degree. The material also bonds (links up) so well with the natural tooth structure that this relatively simple and inexpensive treatment can last for a number of years.
Chipped, damaged or decay will produce uneven, discoloured and patchy teeth. By replacing discoloured old fillings, removing decay and evening-up worn and chipped edges with white composite fillings that blend to the colour of your natural teeth your mouth will look much healthier and younger.
Frequently asked questions
Bonding is a procedure that can be done right in the dental surgery, without involving a laboratory — that’s why it is typically an easy, cost-effective treatment that can be accomplished in a single visit. It’s a great solution for restoring minor flaws that don’t extend very far into the tooth’s structure. It’s also ideal for teenagers, who may have to wait until they stop growing before getting a more permanent restoration. But bonding normally isn’t as long-lasting as some other restoration techniques, such as veneers or crowns. However, with proper care, a bonded tooth can keep looking good for years.
Bonding can be used to remedy several different kinds of flaws in your smile. Small chips, cracks and areas of discoloration can be easily treated via cosmetic bonding. It can even be used to fix minor spacing irregularities. Best of all, because composite resin is available in various shades to match the natural colour of your teeth, it’s almost impossible to tell which tooth has been treated.
Bonding is a minimally invasive, reversible treatment that normally causes little or no discomfort. The tooth being treated is first thoroughly cleaned, and then “etched” with a gel that microscopically roughens its surface. Next, the gel is rinsed off, and liquid composite resin (in a shade chosen to match the tooth) is painted on with a brush. Then, the bonding material is cured (hardened) using a special light. After it has cured, another layer may be applied; this process can be repeated several times to build up a thicker coating. Finally, a dental instrument is used to shape the built-up material into its final, pleasing form.
Not really… but like all teeth, they should be brushed and flossed daily, and professionally cleaned at the dental office twice a year. Bonded teeth can also become stained from tobacco use, red wine and coffee — but unlike regular teeth, bonded teeth can’t be lightened. So if you’re considering tooth-whitening treatments, have them done before your teeth are bonded.
Who is able to carry out this treatment?
Composite Bonding Results
Replacement of older worn and stained restorations
This patient presented with a white filling in her front tooth that she felt was past its best. She didn’t like that it was worn, had a dark margin that didn’t go away with tooth brushing and that the edge of her tooth was uneven. All these problems can be corrected.
Recontouring a tooth to mimic the tooth on the other side
Mr X had a bleeding gum because food would collect on a sharp edge of a filling that had chipped. He was embarrassed that this would show when he went out to a restaurant. A smoother, more contoured and natural filling prevented food from collecting and his gum problem cleared up as a result.
Repairing a tooth after trauma
Many of us suffer from minor to more major trauma to front teeth as a result of an accident or sporting injury. In this case, our patient had suffered from a blow to the mouth whilst playing hockey. With otherwise perfect teeth, he was devastated that this had happened. Bonding restored his smile. The tooth became less sensitive to hot and cold and the ulcer on his lower lip healed as the rough edge was removed.
*Click images to enlarge
Closing up gaps in between teeth
Bonding can be used in conjunction with another treatment plan. It is often used to even the edges of teeth after Invisalign but, in this case, our patient wanted to standardise the size and shape of her lateral incisors without crowning them. A model of her mouth was made so that she could see what was possible with bonding and a single appointment delivered the result she was after.
“I'm always made to feel welcome and at ease. The dentists are friendly, with a good chair-side manner - an excellent experience all round.”