If tooth discoloration, uneven teeth, a chip or crack in a tooth’s surface, or even a cavity keep you from smiling, your dentist may recommend tooth bonding. This form of cosmetic dentistry involves the application of a composite resin material directly to the surface of the tooth to repair cracks, change the shape of a tooth, or cover up tooth discoloration. Tooth bonding is a simpler, less expensive dental cosmetic option than other alternatives, such as veneers, fillings, and crowns.
In addition, because tooth bonding only works on the outer surface of a tooth, in most cases, it is a completely painless procedure that delivers a bright, beautiful smile.
- Dental bonding uses a composite resin matched to your natural tooth color in order to alter the size, shape, and color of a tooth, as well as cover up small cracks and chips, fill in a cavity, or close gaps and spaces in between teeth.
- Many cosmetic dental procedures, such as veneers, require the dentist to remove part of a tooth’s enamel before application, meaning that they are not reversible and, should a veneer come off, you will need a new replacement or other dental procedure. In contrast, dental bonding goes directly on the tooth’s surface, leaving the enamel intact and not damaging your natural tooth.
- Because tooth bonding does not require the preparation of the natural tooth, most procedures are completely painless.
Is dental bonding painless?
Cosmetic procedures designed to improve the appearance of your teeth often require changes to your natural teeth before application. For example, before veneers are put in place, the dentist must remove part of the natural tooth enamel in order to allow for the placement of a ceramic veneer. Tooth bonding, on the other hand, is a procedure that places composite resin directly onto the surface of the tooth, with little to no preparation necessary. Because there is no direct change to the tooth, the application of resin is unlikely to cause any pain at all.
There are a few times, however, when patients may experience mild pain or discomfort. If your tooth bonding procedure is being used to fill a cavity and address tooth decay, you may experience some pain. This is because the decayed area may be close to sensitive nerve endings, and the application may affect those nerves. Another area where discomfort may occur is when the bonding is placed near the gumline. This is especially true if you have early gum disease or gum sensitivity.
What is the dental bonding process?
To better prepare you for the tooth bonding process, we take a closer look at the tooth bonding process from preparation to recovery.
Before making the decision to choose tooth bonding, you and your dentist will evaluate whether it is the best cosmetic option for the teeth in question in order to achieve your goals. For example, if the affected tooth is in an area of high bite pressure, such as molars, or has significant damage, you may decide that dental veneers will provide a better solution.
If you move forward with tooth bonding, the first step is preparing the teeth. Unlike veneers that require the removal of some tooth enamel, with tooth bonding, your dentist will roughen the surface of the tooth and apply a conditioning liquid that will help the composite resin better adhere to the surface of the tooth.
During a dental bonding procedure
After preparing the tooth, the dentist will apply the bonding material directly to the surface. They will mold the resin to fit the shape of your tooth, replace small chips, extend a shorter tooth, or fill in any gaps that you are trying to address between two teeth. Once the resin is in place, a special light is applied to help harden the resin. Once hardened, they will have you bite down several times in order to ensure the resin is in place and that your bite is natural. They will repeat the process if needed.
After the tooth bonding procedure, you can expect to have a slightly different feel in your mouth. Changes to the shape or thickness of your tooth or teeth can take time to adjust to, but it will become your new normal in no time. You will leave the cosmetic dentist’s office with your new, beautiful smile.
How long is the recovery time?
Dental bonding requires zero recovery time as the composite resin completely cures during the procedure. In fact, you can return to all your normal activities, including eating and drinking, as soon as you leave the dental office. However, you may experience some tooth sensitivity after bonding, but this should improve within a couple of days.
How to take care of your bonded tooth?
Caring for teeth with tooth bonding is no different than caring for natural teeth. A good oral hygiene routine that includes brushing twice a day, flossing at least once a day, and seeing your dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings will help to keep your teeth healthy and extend the life of your tooth bonding.
While tooth bonding typically lasts three to 10 years before needing touch-ups or replacement, following a good oral hygiene routine can help extend that lifespan. In addition, avoid chewing or biting on hard objects, such as fingernails, pens, hard foods, or candy, as they can chip away at the composite resin. This is especially true if tooth bonding is used to fix a chipped tooth. If you feel or notice chips in the resin surface, see your dentist as soon as possible.
A non-invasive restoration to improve your smile
If you are looking for a cosmetic dental procedure that improves your smile while still maintaining your natural tooth completely, tooth bonding may be the solution you are looking for. With zero downtime, you can have a beautiful new smile within hours. While tooth bonding may last a shorter time than veneers or other cosmetic options, it is a less expensive and non-invasive tooth restoration option.
Say goodbye to chips, gaps, and tooth discoloration
If you look in the mirror and see nothing but a gap between your teeth or the small chip in your front tooth, tooth bonding can help restore any damage or discoloration and give you a smile you can be proud of. The team at Soundview Family Dental understands how important a smile can be to boost your self-confidence and we strive to help all our patients achieve a healthy, beautiful smile and optimal oral health. Schedule an appointment today to learn more about tooth bonding and how it may help you.