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A dental bond is a tooth-colored resin that is attached to the front of a tooth. The resin starts out soft and flexible and is cured using blue light to make it hard, durable, and tooth-like.
When resin bonding is applied to front teeth, it’s often to correct a minor cosmetic flaw, such as a diastema (a gap between the teeth) or chipped teeth. It can also be applied to damaged or irregularly shaped teeth.
Composite fillings may also be considered a type of dental bonding since they also use composite resin. However, this article focuses on dental bonding for cosmetically reshaping the front teeth.
Dental bonding offers several benefits:
The dental bonding material allows for a natural appearance, mimicking the color and shape of natural teeth. This is a benefit of cosmetic treatment in general since other procedures are also available.
For example, porcelain crowns and dental veneers can also look natural. However, resin bonding offers durable results for less money and time (see below).
The resin in dental bonding can last 1 to 10 years. This makes them a worthwhile treatment in many cases, though porcelain veneers or crowns can last even longer and require fewer changes to your diet.
Compared to other cosmetic dental procedures, bonding offers potentially similar results for less time and money.
Bonding involves a minimally invasive procedure that typically takes less than an hour. Other treatments, such as crowns or porcelain veneers, can cost significantly more, permanently remove tooth structure, and require multiple visits.
A typical dental bonding procedure will look like the following:
Dental bonding uses a type of dental material known as composite resin. This synthetic resin-based material can be molded before being cured and attaches strongly to your natural teeth.
An important property of composite resin is its ability to mimic natural tooth color. This is what makes modern cosmetic dental bonding possible. Various additives within the resin allow it to match a wide range of shades seen in real tooth enamel.
Like any dental procedure, composite bonding has a few downsides:
Because of the material used, some risks of tooth bonding are higher than they are for other dental restorations, such as:
Dental bonding is ideal for more minor cosmetic issues. For example, a small gap or chip in a tooth can be easily treated with bonding.
Veneers, crowns, or replacement with an implant are likely to be better solutions for front teeth that have suffered more significant damage. Severely decayed teeth, for example, won’t be good candidates for bonding.
It’s essential to properly care for your bonded teeth to ensure the results last as long as possible. While composite resin is relatively durable and natural-looking, it isn’t as strong as enamel and is vulnerable to staining.
While your overall dental hygiene and eating habits may not need to change, you’ll want to avoid habits, such as nail biting or smoking, that could damage or discolor the composite material.
Other cosmetic procedures can also restore the appearance of your front teeth. In some cases, they may be preferable to bonding.
Here’s how bonding compares to popular alternatives:
Compared to porcelain veneers, bonding is faster, more convenient, and less expensive. However, veneers typically last longer, are more resistant to stains, and look more natural.
However, dental bonding can technically include composite veneers. Like their porcelain counterparts, they cover the whole front of a tooth but are made of the same bonding material. They have largely the same advantages and disadvantages of tooth bonding in general.
Dental crowns are one of the most permanent tooth restorations. They can last significantly longer than bonding.
For front teeth that have been severely damaged, crowns are often the optimal choice. They completely cover the vulnerable remaining tooth and can restore its normal function and appearance for years or even decades.
On the other hand, bonding may be better suited for a minor flaw in a front tooth. It may not be worth it to undergo all the preparation needed for a crown when the issue is so small.
When correcting front teeth, braces can address the underlying issue more thoroughly than bonding. They move the teeth into alignment and provide more or less permanent results (as long as you wear a retainer).
But maybe your teeth aren’t severely misaligned, and you simply want to reduce a small gap between your top front teeth. In this case, bonding may be the better option. It’s less expensive, less invasive, and can be redone.
All teeth, bonded or not, need appropriate care to ensure their health and longevity. Your dentist will give you post-bonding advice and instructions, but expect the following:
Your overall dental care routine won’t need to change after bonding. Regular brushing, flossing, and rinsing will still be necessary for good oral hygiene, and your bonded teeth should be able to handle the pressure.
However, the bonding material is more prone to chipping and staining than tooth enamel. Avoid biting your nails, foreign objects, or extremely hard foods to prevent damage.
Due to the risk of staining, you’ll also want to be careful with coffee, tea, wine, dark sodas, tobacco, and other substances. You might consider cutting down or eliminating them or remembering to rinse your mouth afterward.
It’s also a good idea to see your dentist twice yearly for regular cleanings and checkups. During these visits, your dentist can monitor the state of your dental bonding and note potential issues before they arise.
Bonding a tooth also isn’t as permanent as a crown or veneer. You can expect to need it redone every 1 to 10 years.
Dental bonding generally isn’t painful at all. You may experience tooth sensitivity in the hours and days following the procedure, but this should subside.
While dental bonding is intended to last several years, the bonded resin can fall out. If it does, you should call your dentist as soon as possible.
Like any tooth, the tooth itself could fall out due to an injury, severe decay, or gum disease.
In the U.S., you can expect dental bonding to cost between $100 and $500. The cost might be half this (or lower) in popular dental tourism destinations. One of the least expensive countries for dental bonding is India, where prices can be as low as $30.
Remember that prices will vary from dentist to dentist and according to your exact treatment needs.
Fillings are often done with composite resin, which is also “bonded” to the tooth. However, when people refer to dental bonding, they actually mean ‘cosmetic bonding’ rather than composite fillings.
Generally, yes. Dental bonding aims to restore or improve the appearance of your teeth without compromising their function. However, your dentist will give you specific advice depending on your situation.
A dental bond is hardened composite resin that restores or reshapes teeth. The resin starts out soft and is molded into shape, and then it’s dried and polished to achieve the final result.
Bonding is a great option for minor cosmetic issues affecting the front teeth, as it’s less invasive, expensive, and time-consuming than the alternatives.
However, every case is different, and your issues may be better treated with a different procedure. Talk to your dentist about your options for restoring or improving the appearance of your front teeth.
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