Bonding involves the application of a sculpt-able resin material onto an existing tooth. The composite resin bonding technique is used to both fill in areas and extend areas, up to a certain point. (More severe cases will require veneers or crowns, which are stronger). Besides being used to fill cavities, in aesthetic dentistry bonding is used mostly to help reshape teeth, fill in minor gaps and give teeth better color.
- First, the surfaces of your teeth are etched with phosphoric acid to create a strong adhesion to the resin.
- Then the restorative bonding material gets applied. It's a soft and pliable formula, making it easy to brush on.
- Next, it's cured with a high-intensity light.
- Once it's hardened, the bonded tooth is then carved and contoured to the ideal tooth form, then finally polished to perfection.
If teeth are darkly stained, an opaque whitish layer is also applied and a more durable coat of resin is added to mask the stain completely.
In some cases, like when a large area is being bonded, the tooth size needs to be reduced to make room for the restorative material that's going to be applied over it. If only a small amount is being added to the tooth or a space is being closed, or, of course, if a tooth is being built out, no reduction is necessary.
Bonding is right for you if:
- You want to close small spaces and improve slight rotations (teeth that twist slightly backward or forward).
- You would like to make your teeth moderately longer or wider.
- The color of your teeth is at a level where whitening procedures (both in-office and at-home) aren't strong enough to create a satisfying change.
- You're not a big coffee drinker or smoker, bonding is quite susceptible to staining.
Advantages of bonding:
- In recent years, bonding has become a relatively quick procedure. Since it usually only entails closing up space and fixing chips and other small imperfections, bonding can be done in one visit.
- Full-facial bonding has become a rarity since porcelain veneers came onto the scene. (Veneers' durability has made them much more preferable for full-tooth restoration while bonding is more commonly used to fill in spaces.)
Disadvantages of bonding:
- If you examine the surface of bonding under a microscope, it looks very much like the surface of the moon very porous. Bonding will pick up all varieties of stains, from lipstick to soy sauce, and aggressive foods such as alcohol can cause peeling and discoloration if you partake often and aren't diligent about brushing afterwards.
- If treated properly and well maintained, bonded teeth can last up to eight years.