Bonding is a common procedure that enables your dentist to fix chips, cracks, and gaps between your teeth. It can also be used to build up worn-down edges of teeth and cover unsightly stains. By using tooth-colored bonding material, a specialized dental adhesive, and a high intensity curing light, bonding can improve the look of your smile pain-free, typically without the need for anesthesia.
Before your dentist can determine if bonding is the right treatment for you, you will need to undergo an examination and evaluation of your teeth. Direct composite bonding can correct a variety of problems including cavities, chips, fractures, and spaces between the teeth. However, in cases of significant tooth damage, your dentist might advise alternative options such as veneers which may offer better results.
If your teeth are heavily stained or discolored, teeth whitening may be suggested before bonding. This will help to better match the color of the composite restoration to that of your natural teeth. When whitening is required, your dentist may delay bonding two to three weeks for completion of the whitening and to ensure a proper bond to your tooth structure.
The Bonding Process
When your treatment plan calls for dental bonding, the dentist will begin by using a rubber dam to isolate the teeth that will be undergoing restoration. This helps prevent moisture from interfering with the bonding process. Next, a phosphoric acid solution will be applied to the tooth. Donít worry- it doesnít hurt! This slightly roughens the surface of the tooth to allow the bond and the adhesive to stick better.
Then, a putty-like composite resin will be applied in stages on the tooth. The dentist will sculpt it to the shape of your tooth. The curing light is now used to harden the composite layer, and more resin will be applied until the tooth is perfectly shaped. Finally, the tooth will be smoothed and polished to give it a natural look and feel.
In some cases such as crowns and inlays, a restoration will first need to be made in a laboratory before it can be applied to a tooth. However, the process remains virtually the same. The dentist will apply adhesive into the restoration, seat it on your tooth, and cure it with the high intensity light.
It isnít uncommon for a bonded tooth to feel sensitive after treatment, but it is typically temporary. Sensitivity that persists or is painful should be evaluated by your dentist.
Cost of Bonding
Because bonding is usually performed with other dental treatments, it can be challenging to estimate the cost of bonding alone. In some cases, dental insurance may pay for a portion which can affect what your out-of-pocket costs will be. And, in the case of elective or cosmetic bonding treatments such as direct composite veneers, costs can be quite varied depending on the dentistís experience and reputation and the location of the office.