Dental bonding has become one of the most commonly performed restorative procedures. The term dental bonding describes the process of restoring a tooth by permanently attaching a composite or other material to the teeth using a special dental cement. Nearly every dental patient has had some form of dental bonding applied, whether when having a cavity filled or during a more complex restoration. There are two main types of dental bonding: direct composite bonding, and adhesive bonding.
Direct Composite Bonding
Direct composite bonding refers to dental restorations where the dentist applies a tooth-colored composite directly to the tooth. This procedure can be used to correct a number of dental issues, including:
- Teeth that have become broken, chipped or cracked
- Teeth that have become unusually worn down
- Unusually large gaps between teeth
- Tooth discoloration
- Misshapen teeth
- Crooked teeth
This procedure is very convenient, as it usually only requires a single visit to our office for the restoration to be completed. In very rare, more complicated cases, your bonding procedure may be spread out over multiple visits. However, unlike other restorative treatments, there is no need to wait for weeks while a prosthetic or other restoration is created.
Direct composite bonding provides a quick cosmetic solution for patients who are seeking a noticeable difference in their smile. In many cases, this treatment may be preferred to other options such as dental veneers.
Adhesive bonding is the more common form of bonding and is used when a restoration such as a filling, dental veneer, or crown needs to be permanently attached to the teeth. The bonding agent and dental composite will be applied to the tooth and then hardened using a special light. This type of dental bonding is also often used when placing dental inlays/onlays.
How the Bonding Process Works
No matter which type of dental bonding you will be receiving, the process begins the same way. Our dentist will isolate the teeth from the gums using a special rubber dam. This prevents your saliva from interfering with the bonding agents. For some bonding procedures, you may be injected with an anesthetic in order to keep you as comfortable as possible. A solution of phosphoric acid will be placed on the teeth in order to gently roughen the surface to allow the bonding material and dental composite to stick to the teeth. The solution will be rinsed away after approximately 15 seconds, and the bonding agent will be applied to the teeth.
If you are receiving a direct composite bonding restoration, our dentist will choose the shade of composite material based on the natural color of your teeth. After the teeth have been properly prepared, the dentist will place the composite onto the tooth in need of restoration. It will then be sculpted into the correct shape. The material will then be hardened using an ultraviolet curing light. The dentist will then carefully file down any sharp edges and finish properly shaping the restoration. These steps will be repeated until the restoration is complete. The material will then be polished to ensure it blends in with your natural teeth.
During an adhesive bonding restoration, the dentist will place the bonding resin onto your dental restoration before placing it carefully onto the tooth. Any extra bonding material will be carefully removed, and the same ultraviolet curing light will be used to harden the bonding material, cementing the restoration into place. Our dentist will then ensure that the restoration fits comfortably.
In some cases, your tooth may be sensitive for a week or two following your dental bonding. This is normal, though if it persists, you should contact our office right away so that your restoration can be checked.
Caring for your Dental Bonding
Immediately following your dental bonding, you may be given some special care instructions. While the material used in direct composite bonding is strong, it can still break or chip. You will need to avoid chewing on non-food objects such as pen caps or fingernails and ice cubes. You will also need to take care when eating particularly crunchy foods such as carrots or apples. If you notice a strange sensation in the area of your bonding restoration when you bite down, call our office right away to schedule an appointment and have your restoration checked for damage.
The dental composite resin is also somewhat prone to staining, so you will need to continue to brush your teeth twice a day and avoid soda, tea, red wine, or darker fruit juices. If you do consume these beverages, rinsing your mouth with water directly afterward can help reduce any staining that may occur. You will need to maintain a regular schedule of visits to our office for cleanings and checkups so we can be sure that your bonding remains undamaged.
For more information on dental bonding, or any other dental restorations offered in our office, or if you would like to find out if you are a good candidate for a bonding restoration, call our office to schedule a consultation. Our goal is to help every patient achieve their healthiest and brightest smile as quickly and comfortably as possible.