The term bonding is used in dentistry to describe permanently attaching dental materials to your teeth using dental adhesives and a high intensity curing light.

Whether you realize it or not, you’ve probably received a dental treatment involving either form of dental bonding: direct composite or adhesive bonding of a restoration (crown, bridge, porcelain veneer, inlay/onlay) that was created in a laboratory or in-office.

Direct Composite Bonding

Dentists use tooth-colored composites (white or natural-looking materials) that they have in their offices to fill cavities, repair chips or cracks, close gaps between your teeth and build up the worn-down edges of teeth. Dentists place the materials in or on the teeth where needed.

Because direct composite bonding involves the precise placement of restorative material by the dentist, the direct composite bonding procedure usually is completed in one dental visit. More complicated or extensive treatments may require additional visits. However, there is usually no need for temporaries or waiting days or weeks for laboratory restorations.

The same composite materials also may be directly applied and sculpted to the surfaces of teeth that show most prominently when you smile, for minimally invasive smile makeovers. While dentists call them direct composite veneers, many people just refer to them generically as “bonding.” Composite bonding usually is an ideal and less expensive solution than crowns or veneers for people with chips, gaps between the teeth, staining and discoloration, slight crookedness and misshapen teeth.

Although direct composite veneers typically require minimal preparations, no mold-taking and no temporaries, the artistic skill and precision of the dentist you choose will determine the exact manner in which your direct composite veneers are created. For example, some dentists use putty stents based on an impression of the patient’s teeth and a model of their desired smile to guide them when placing the composite. This helps ensure a satisfactory result.

Adhesive Bonding

Adhesive bonding refers to attaching a restoration to a tooth using an etchant, a bonding agent, an adhesive and a high intensity curing light. This method is typically used for esthetic and metal-free crowns, porcelain veneers, bridges, inlays/onlays and fillings.

The Procedure

Whether your treatment plan calls for direct composite restorations or adhesively bonded restorations, our dentist at Wylie Smiles will start the process by using a rubber dam to isolate the teeth, to prevent interference from moisture. Depending on the extent of the treatment, anesthetic injections may be required. Wylie Smiles patient coordinators will go over all options with you.

Our dentist would then apply a gentle phosphoric acid solution to the surface of the natural tooth, which won’t hurt. Similar to how roughing up a surface with sandpaper can help paint adhere to it better, acid etching of the tooth surface strengthens the bond of the composite and the adhesive. After 15 seconds the phosphoric acid is removed, and a liquid bonding agent is applied.

For a direct composite restoration:

• Our dentist at Wylie Smiles then will place a putty-like composite resin in stages on the natural surface of the tooth, then shape and sculpt it.
• A high intensity curing light will be used to harden that layer of composite, and the previous step will be repeated, then cured, until the filling or direct composite veneer has reached its final shape.
• Your dentist also will create an appropriate finish to ensure that the bonded resin does not dislodge or cause tooth sensitivity, and feels and looks smooth.

For a restoration from a laboratory:

• Our dentist will place the appropriate adhesive into the restoration, seat the restoration on the tooth and light-cure it using a high intensity curing light for the appropriate amount of time.

It is not uncommon for a bonded tooth – particularly one that has been filled or on which a crown or inlay/onlay has been placed – to feel sensitive after treatment. This minor sensitivity is often short-lived, but if it persists, please call our office to schedule a quick visit with our dentist, Dr. Rana Nassar.

Consultation and Treatment Planning

To determine if your dental problems can be solved with direct composite bonding, at Wylie Smiles our dentist first will conduct a thorough examination and evaluation of your teeth and gums. This includes taking and reviewing X-rays of your teeth to fully evaluate candidacy. During your consultation, our dentist and treatment coordinator will discuss the clinical and cosmetic problems that direct composite bonding can resolve, such as cavities, chips, cracks, fractures, gaps and spaces between teeth, and tooth discoloration. However, if you have teeth that are extensively damaged or our dentist feels other dental issues may affect the success and longevity of direct composite bonding treatment, other options may be presented to you, such as crowns or veneers.

Pre-treatment teeth whitening may be suggested in order to better match the color of the composite restoration to your natural teeth. If whitening is needed, our dentist may wait anywhere from 14 to 21 days before placing your direct composite restorations to ensure a proper and durable bond to your natural tooth structure.

In instances where bonding materials will be used to lengthen or change the shape of your teeth and alter the appearance of your smile, our dentist may take impressions of your teeth before treatment to create a preview model of what your new smile could look like. If you agree with the proposed changes, our dentist may then use this model as a guide or template when placing the direct composite on your teeth.

After Care

Direct composite bonding restorations can provide you with a healthy and beautiful smile for many years, but it is important to follow our dentist recommendations for proper oral hygiene, as well as avoid habits that could damage your restorations.
Brush at least twice a day, floss once a day and schedule regular visits with Wylie Smiles to maintain dental checkups and cleanings

Refrain from habits such as biting your fingernails and chewing on pens, ice or other hard objects, since direct composite bonding materials are prone to chipping. Our dentist also will suggest you return to the office if you notice any sharp edges on the bonded tooth or teeth, or if the tooth feels differently when you bite down.

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF DENTAL BONDING?

Advantages:

• Dental bonding is among the easiest and least expensive of cosmetic dental procedures.
• Bonding can usually be done in one office visit unless several teeth are involved.
• Dental bonding involves the removal of less tooth enamel than veneers or crowns.
• Anesthesia is usually not required.

Disadvantages:

• While composite resin is somewhat stain resistant, it’s not as stain resistant as a crown or veneer.
• Composite resin may eventually chip or break off the tooth after three to ten years.

Frequently Asked Questions About Restorative Bonding

Q. Can dental cosmetic bonding fix my child’s chipped tooth?

A. Yes, it can. As a cosmetic dentist, we can restore your child’s chipped tooth by applying resin to their tooth and shaping it until it matches their natural one. We will use every tool available to match the shade of the resin with the child’s surrounding teeth, so it blends in as best as possible. Other people will most likely not notice a difference between the bonding material and the other teeth. The only thing to note is that if the child’s teeth are still growing, the child may need a revisit in the future.

Q. Will a tooth bonding procedure be uncomfortable?

A. Not at all. Bonding is a non-invasive procedure and one of the most comfortable restorations you can receive. In order to complete the restoration or to make cosmetic improvements, all we need to do is roughen the tooth slightly and apply a conditioning liquid. Next, we will apply the resin material that matches the shade of your teeth. We will shape the material to match the tooth size as well, before hardening it in place. Since your tooth structure remains intact, you will be comfortable during the procedure. In fact, most people do not need any anesthesia or pain medication for the bonding procedure.

Q. Can Restorative bonding be used to fill gaps in between my teeth?

A. Yes, it can. When you visit Wylie Smiles, we can close small gaps between your teeth using this simple procedure. The bonding procedure is an alternative to placing veneers or crowns or undergoing an orthodontic procedure. Since we can typically complete cosmetic bonding in one dental visit, it is the fastest way to complete this transformation.

Q. Can it reshape my teeth?

A. Yes. Bonding is an excellent way to reshape your teeth. We can use it to lengthen your teeth or change their width. By doing so, your teeth can appear more uniform, and we can eliminate the inconsistencies between your teeth. It only takes 30 to 60 minutes per tooth, so reshaping is much easier and faster than people may believe.

Q. Will cosmetic bonding help if my teeth are stained?

A. Yes, if you have stains on your teeth, we can use bonding to cover them. We suggest trying a whitening procedure first since this can improve the appearance of your smile with relative ease. There are times, however, when a whitening procedure is not enough to remove some of the deep or more significant stains. This is where restorative bonding can be particularly useful. We can place the resin material on top of your stained tooth or teeth in order to improve their appearance. We can discuss your options with you and complete the procedure in as little as one visit.

Q. Is a tooth bonding procedure reversible?

A. Yes, since we apply bonding without removing the enamel on your teeth, the process is reversible. If you want to change course and restore your teeth or change their appearance with an alternative procedure in the future, you can. While most of our patients are satisfied with the appearance of their teeth after the bonding procedure, some use this as a temporary solution while considering more long-term improvements.

Q. Is dental bonding affordable?

A. If budget is a concern, dental bonding is an affordable and viable option. Since we place and harden bonding material in our office, there is no need for participation from the dental lab. This makes the process more cost-effective than getting dental veneers or crowns. If you are weighing your options between the three, let us know. We can give you a breakdown of what each procedure will cost. For more information, call our office or fill out appointment form to go over all options, finance programs and in office payment plans we offer. We accept Most PPO Dental Insurance Plans, Care Credit, Cheque, Cash and children’s and Adult Medicaid/Medicare plans.

Q. How long will it last?

A. A Restorative bonding procedure is durable, natural-looking, and effective. There is no set timeframe for how long the resin will last. It can last for several decades or several years. Taking care of your teeth will help to increase its longevity. Be sure to brush with a soft or electronic toothbrush, so you do not risk eroding your teeth and your restoration. You need to also avoid eating food that is too acidic, while also avoiding any activities that can break or chip your teeth. While bonding material is strong and durable, it is not as strong as a dental crown can be. If you are looking for a longer lasting restoration, then you may want to consider that option as well.

Definition of Dental Terminology

Cosmetic Dentistry

Cosmetic dentistry is generally used to refer to any dental work that improves the appearance (though not necessarily the function) of a person’s teeth, gums and/or bite.

Decay

Tooth decay is when the enamel of the tooth begins to decay and cause erosion from plaque and tartar on the teeth.

Dental Caries

Dental caries is also known as cavities and result from a lack of proper oral hygiene leaving plaque that forms tiny holes in the teeth.

Dental Checkup

A dental checkup is an appointment that involves cleaning the teeth, identifying any signs of infection and removing said signs of infection at least once every six months in the office.

Dental Filling

A dental filling involves restoring the structure of the tooth by using metal, alloy, porcelain or plastic to fill the tooth.

Dental Prophylaxis

A dental prophylaxis is a professional and detailed cleaning that involves the removal of plaque, calculus and stains from the teeth.

Dental Sealants

Dental sealants contain a resinous material that we apply to the chewing surfaces of the posterior teeth to prevent dental caries.

Dentist

A dentist, also known as a dental surgeon, is a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases and conditions of the oral cavity.

Gingivitis

Gingivitis is the inflammation of gum tissue that results from plaque, other infections in the mouth and poor oral hygiene.

Preventive Dentistry

Preventive dentistry is the dentistry that focuses on maintaining oral health in order to prevent the spread of plaque, the formation of tartar and infections in the mouth.

Tartar

Tartar forms when plaque builds up on the surface of the teeth and calcifies into a hard surface that is much more difficult to remove and will require professional treatment.

Tooth Enamel

Tooth enamel is the protective visible outer surface of a tooth that contains the dentin and dental pulp.