Does a chipped, stained, or broken tooth keep your smile from being beautiful? When you look at a picture of yourself smiling, do you only see the gap between your two front teeth? Dental bonding offers a quick, simple fix for these and other dental imperfections.
Of all the cosmetic dentistry treatments, dental bonding is a more economical option. Not only can it correct damage, slight misalignments, and malformations, but it can change the shape and size of teeth to improve a smile’s overall appearance. Basically, bonding can accomplish the same results as veneers, but at a significantly lower cost. You should know, however, that bonding does not last as long as veneers.
If you are interested in enhancing your smile with cosmetic bonding, trust the doctors at Lifetime Smiles. They use a perfect blend of modern technology and artistic talent to create restorations that address the shade, shape, and size of teeth for unforgettable smiles!
What is dental bonding?
Dental bonding is a conservative treatment that utilizes tooth-colored composite resin to correct flaws in teeth. Durable cosmetic resin is the same material used for tooth-colored fillings. It is an excellent choice for patients who want an improved smile but have a limited budget.
Unlike crowns and veneers, bonding sometimes does not require local anesthesia. Tooth preparation involves gentle etching where the dentist will place the material. Etching roughens tooth enamel, which creates more surface area so that the restoration adheres well. Note that local anesthesia may be needed if an old filling or dental decay needs to be removed or if a chip is deep enough to cause discomfort.
Your dentists at Lifetime Smiles will custom match the color of the composite resin to your tooth enamel. After preparing the material, the dentist will place it on the surface of your tooth. At this point, the putty-like material is malleable. The dentist can sculpt it to the ideal size and shape that looks natural and attractive amidst your other teeth.
Once the dentist is satisfied with the restoration, a special light will harden it into a durable state. Then, any necessary adjustments will be made to make sure your bite is balanced and comfortable. The dentist will also smooth the restoration’s edges and polish it to a brilliant shine.
What can dental bonding do?
Dental bonding can subtly or completely alter the shape, size, and color of a tooth.
Most often, patients choose dental bonding to:
- Create a veneer over a tooth to hide permanent discoloration
- Make a broken or chipped tooth whole
- Fill gaps between teeth
- Reshape a malformed tooth
- Increase the size of teeth that are too small
- Improve the appearance of teeth with tiny cracks or craze lines
- Replace metal fillings or old bonded fillings
Pros and Cons of Dental Bonding
The advantages of dental bonding are clear. Compared to crowns and veneers, bonding is more economical, requires less tooth preparation, and is much faster. In fact, the entire process typically takes less than an hour.
For instance, since composite bonding is usually placed on part of a tooth, instead of the entire surface, over time as tooth enamel tarnishes, the bonding will become obvious. Regularly whitening your teeth can help to reduce this potential problem. The seam where bonding and enamel meet may also hold stains. Again, teeth whitening can help. While the bonding will not respond to chemical whitening, enamel and stains in the seam will lighten.
Also, the bonding material is not as durable as porcelain. Therefore, cosmetic bonding chips easier and does not last as long as a dental crown or veneer. The average life expectancy of bonding can be around five to seven years, while porcelain veneers and crowns can last multiple decades. However, all must be maintained with regular dental hygiene care, and good at-home habits. For those who clench or grind, a nightguard may be recommended to protect and extend the life of the treatments.
The good news is, with proper care, dental bonding will give you a better-looking smile, and replacing the composite resin is even simpler than its initial placement.
Proper Care of Cosmetic Bonding
Bonded teeth do not require special treatment. Simply brush, floss, and keep up with routine dental visits. It’s the same tasks recommended for maintaining healthy natural teeth.
Avoid smoking and consuming a lot of dark-colored foods and beverages, like blueberries, red wine, dark sodas, and coffee. These habits will stain natural tooth enamel, making the bonded areas stand out. Regularly whitening your teeth will help reduce the risk of this concern.
Also, because the bonding can chip or break, avoid chewing hard objects, like ice, pen caps, pencils, and fingernails. Although this is recommended in general, even for your natural teeth.
The Importance of Choosing the Right Dentist for Bonding
Because cosmetic bonding requires artistic skill, choosing the right dentist is important.
If you are in the Escondido area, you can trust Dr. McDonald and Dr. Mallakis to give you the beautiful results you desire. To learn more about cosmetic bonding, call (760) 747-1811 today. We would love the opportunity to answer your questions and schedule your cosmetic consultation.