Dental bonding is one of the easiest and most economical cosmetic dental procedures. It utilizes a composite resin that is shaped and polished to match the surrounding teeth. Often, bonding is used for cosmetic purposes, such as to improve the appearance of a discolored or chipped tooth. It can also be used to change the shape or size of the teeth, closing spaces between teeth or making them appear longer. It can also be used as a cosmetic alternative to amalgam (metal) fillings, or to protect a portion of an exposed tooth root that has resulted from gum recession.
Bonding does not require any special preparation or anesthesia (unless the bonding is being used to fill a decayed tooth). Dr. Deforest will first choose the composite resin color that matches the color of your tooth most closely. He will then slightly etch the surface of the tooth to roughen it; this helps the bonding material to adhere better to the tooth surface. A conditioning liquid will be used to coat the tooth lightly. This further helps the bonding material to adhere too. The bonding is applied as a tooth-colored, putty-like resin. It will be molded and smoothed until it is the desired shape and size, then hardened with an ultraviolet light or laser. Once it has been hardened, your dentist will trim and shape it, then polish it until the bond matches the look of the neighboring teeth. The entire procedure takes about 30 minutes to an hour to complete (for one tooth; additional teeth may require separate appointments).
It should be noted that, once you’ve completed your bonding procedure, it’s recommended that you avoid tea, coffee, cigarette smoke, and other substances that can stain the resin. Additionally, because the composite resin is not as strong as natural teeth, you should be careful not to bite your nails or chew on pen caps or pens. Bonding may need to be replaced eventually.