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Dental bonding is the most affordable restorative treatment option for patients with chipped, cracked, or damaged teeth.
There are two forms of dental bonding available, including:
Direct dental bonding lasts up to 8 years depending on a patient’s bite and their eating and chewing habits.
Bonding is one of the most popular restorative treatment options for adults because it is painless and completed within one to two office visits. Dental bonds are also non-invasive, which means almost all patients qualify for treatment, even children with chipped or damaged teeth.
In a survey conducted by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), bonding was the second most common dental procedure patients received in 2013 (64 percent). Participants could select as many procedures as applicable:
Porcelain veneers are tooth-colored shells that fit over the front of your teeth. They change the shape, color, and size of teeth. They can also fix chipped, cracked, or damaged teeth.
Although aesthetically pleasing, porcelain veneers are not for everyone because they are more expensive and take longer to apply than dental bonds. Bonding requires one office visit and is cost-effective, while veneers take two or more appointments. Bonds are also reversible, while porcelain veneers are permanent.
It is essential to have an experienced restorative dentist apply a dental bond. This is because the material is particularly difficult to match to your exact tooth color. Bonds also stain easier, require more upkeep, and are less natural-looking than veneers.
Other treatment options, such as dental crowns and porcelain veneers, are more expensive and invasive than bonding treatment.
Patients with just a few gaps in between their teeth can skip clear aligners or braces altogether and get bonding treatment. However, if teeth misalignment is severe, your dentist will recommend orthodontic treatment instead of dental bonding treatment.
Patients undergo dental bonding treatment to treat a variety of different minor dental issues, including:
There are two types of dental bonding treatment, including indirect dental bonding and direct dental bonding. Both treatments incorporate composite resin materials, which a restorative dentist "bonds" to your teeth using a special adhesive (unfilled resin).
Both direct and indirect dental bonds consist of composite resin. Composite resin is an extremely flexible, tooth-colored, putty-like plastic. It is extremely flexible and easily molds around tooth cracks, stains, and chips. Restorative dentists also use composite resin to fill cavities.
Direct dental bonding quickly fixes chipped or decayed teeth during one office visit. Direct dental bonds restore the shape, function, look, and color of a patient’s natural teeth.
This procedure consists of placing tooth-colored restorations, also called fillings, on a tooth or multiple teeth. The bonding material is a putty-like composite resin that matches the color of your teeth.
The composite material is molded onto the teeth, cured with a high-intensity light, and then smoothed and polished. The procedure only takes 30 to 60 minutes.
Composite veneer bonding is generally considered a cosmetic treatment, which means it is elective and not covered by insurance. Composite veneer bonding changes the shape, color, and size of teeth. It can also close gaps and change the length of your teeth.
Composite veneers can last up to 8 years with proper care.
Indirect dental bonding is a restorative treatment that restores broken or decayed teeth. The procedure is separated into two appointments.
During the first appointment, your dentist will make a mold of the damaged or decaying tooth. Then, the mold is sent to a dental laboratory, where an indirect filling or dental inlay is created. Indirect inlays and fillings are both made of composite resin materials. They are strong and durable because lab technicians use high heat to cure the restorations.
After the indirect restoration is made, you will visit your dentist again. During the second appointment, your dentist will bond the filling or inlay to your tooth.
Teeth that have dental bonds are more susceptible to chips and stains than other dental restorations. Additional oral care techniques are necessary, including:
The cost of dental bonding depends on the severity of the condition and how many teeth need treatment. Many standard dental insurance plans cover most of the cost of treatment, especially when it is used to fill a cavity.
The prices below reflect the cost of dental bonding treatment without insurance:
Direct Composite Dental Bonding
$300-$600 (per tooth)
Direct Composite Veneer Bonding
$250-$1500 (per tooth)
Indirect Dental Bonding (Inlays)
$650-$1200 (per tooth)
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Blue Ocean Publishing Group. The Million Dollar Smile, Changing Lives with Cosmetic Dentistry. 2018.
“Cosmetic Dentistry State of the Industry: Survey 2013” American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry | Dental CE Courses, aacd.com/.
Hollins, Carole. Basic Guide to Dental Procedures. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2015.
Kohli, Kent D. Smile Beautifully!: The Ultimate Consumer's Guide to Cosmetic Dentistry. 2016.
Syrbu, John DDS. The Complete Pre-Dental Guide to Modern Dentistry. 2013.