Dental Bonding (also referred to as Adhesive Dentistry) is the process whereby your dentist or cosmetic dentist rebuilds, reshapes, and/or covers tooth defects using tooth-colored materials (composite resins).
Chipping a tooth is one of the most common dental emergencies that patients and dentists face. Luckily, with modern materials and techniques, it is a situation that is can very easily and quickly be fixed. If the chipped or missing area of tooth is less than about 1/3rd of the tooth surface, dental bonding can be utilized as an option to replace the missing tooth structure with a matching tooth colored material. In situations like this, the dentist can restore your tooth in as little as 45 minutes, sometimes, with no need for local anesthesia. If the chipping covers more than 1/2 of the tooth surface, dental bonding is not generally, a good long term answer. The dentist may instead, recommend a traditional crown PFM (Porcelain fused to a metal framework crown) ,an all porcelain crown or a porcelain veneer.
What is Dental Bonding?
Dental Bonding is a procedure used in cosmetic dentistry to restore a tooth after it has discolored, decayed, broken or chipped. The cosmetic dentist will use a tooth colored material called a dental composite to rebuild the tooth to its former shape,color, and size.
Steps Involved in Dental Bonding
-Preparation. Very little preparation is needed for dental bonding, especially in the case of a chipped tooth. Anesthesia is usually not even needed unless the dental bonding is needed to restore a deeply damaged or traumatized tooth, a fracture close to the nerve, a sensitive tooth, or a tooth damaged by a tooth cavity. Your dentist will need to roughen up the surface and clean the edges to prepare the area to accept the dental bonding. Your dentist will also select a color match for the composite resin they will use. This is generally done by matching to your existing tooth structure.
-The Actual Dental Bonding Process. As mentioned earlier the surface of the tooth will be roughened and an acid etch (phosphoric acid), will be applied to the tooth. The etch removes surface debris and opens up tiny tubules to bond to. Next, a primer is applied to wet the surface and allow the adhesive to flow into those tubules. Third, the adhesive bonding agent is applied, this allows for the material to adhesively bond to the remaining tooth structure. The tooth-colored composite resin is then applied to the effected area, molded, and smoothed to the desired shape. A special light is then used to harden or cure the material. Once the material is hardened, your dentist will need to do more shaping and polish it to match the sheen of the rest of the tooth surface. One of the most important parts of the entire process is in the final shaping and polishing. It is important to blend the composite resin properly to get a result that looks and feels like your natural tooth structure. Once the dentist is happy with the result, they will check your bite. By checking your bite the dentist ensures that your teeth are all biting evenly and not hitting the new restoration first when biting and chewing. The correct bite will allow the bonding a better chance to last.
The entire process should take anywhere between 30-60 minutes depending on size of chip. If done properly, dental bonding should not be noticeable to anyone. It should match your existing tooth structure perfectly.
Advantages of Dental Bonding
-Dental bonding is probably one of the most fulfilling cosmetic dentistry procedures to perform.
-Dental bonding can be completed in office in one short visit. As opposed to a porcelain crown or porcelain veneer which take 1-2 hours . Crowns and veneers take multiple visits to complete and need a dental laboratory to custom fabricate the porcelain crown or porcelain veneer.
-Local Anesthesia is usually not needed unless there is trauma or tooth decay involved.
Disadvantages of Dental Bonding
-Dental bonding can stain over time
-Dental Bonding can chip just like a natural tooth. Precautions need to be taken when eating and chewing.
Dental bonding is an effective and cost effective way to repair and reshape damaged teeth. If you think you may need dental bonding, your dentist can let you know if this procedure is a good option for you.