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What is Cosmetic Bonding?
Cosmetic bonding is a cost-effective cosmetic dental procedure in which a dentist applies a tooth-colored composite resin to one or more of your teeth to repair damage. Serving as a practical alternative to crowns and veneers, cosmetic bonding uses a shade guide to help you choose a color that matches your natural teeth. After that, we roughen the surface of the tooth, and apply a liquid that allows the bonding agent to stick! Finally, we apply the composite resin over the liquid, molds, or shapes the tooth, and then hardens the material with UV light.
While your teeth are naturally very strong, accidents can happen. Teeth bonding can help repair chipped teeth while preventing future damage. Is it the right move for you? Keep reading, or contact South Texas Smiles in San Antonio, Texas today at 210-614-3898 for more information!
Is Cosmetic Dental Bonding Right for You?
Teeth bonding has the best value among cosmetic dental procedure options. Unlike veneers and crowns, which may require a lab, bonding can be done onsite, unless several teeth require attention. Another advantage of bonding, when sized up against veneers and crowns is that it removes the least amount of tooth enamel.
Due to some of its limitations, cosmetic bonding is best used as a solution for short-term cosmetic correction, and for correcting teeth in areas of very low bite pressure such as the front of your teeth. Typically, bonding material lasts from 3-10 years before a replacement or touch-up is required.
Dental bonding may be recommended for several reasons:
- repairing chipped or cracked teeth
- fixing gaps in teeth
- concealing discoloration
- changing your tooth shape to match the rest of your smile
- protecting part of a tooth's root caused by a receding gumline
How Long Does Dental Bonding Last?
Bonding on the front teeth can last between 4 and 8 years, but it may need to be replaced in as little as 3 and as many as 10 years depending on the bond’s location, your bite, and your eating habits. After the 8-year mark, your dentist will assess the bonding site to determine if the bond needs to be replaced, retouched, or if it is fine as is.
While some circumstances regarding your bond’s shelf-life may be entirely out of your control, there are certain things you can do to give your bond the best chance of longevity. It's usually better to avoid biting directly into your food, particularly hard consumables that can compromise the dental bonding structure. Your bonding's lifespan will depend largely on how serious you take your oral hygiene.
How to Care for Bonded Teeth
Bear in mind, many materials are as strong as your natural teeth, including composite resin. Avoid activities that might damage your teeth such as chewing on ice, writing utensils, and your fingernails.
Bruxism (teeth grinding) can also damage the bonding resin by grinding it down quicker than normal, run-of-the-mill wear and tear. If you are a bruxer, consider investing in a mouth guard or night guard, either through our office or a third party. Bonding your front teeth typically requires minimal prep-work, so anesthesia is unnecessary unless there is an old restoration or decay present. The tooth is layered with a conditioning gel to help the bonding material stay put. The resin is then applied and hardened with a UV light.
While your bond repairs the tooth initially, good oral hygiene is still required for long-lasting effects. Excessive hard foods and candies can also cause damage to your bond, so it’s best to avoid them since these are not great for regular teeth either. Whitening gels won’t harm anything, but you may see some discoloration as your tooth’s appearance changes, but your bond remains identical.
The process works best for healthy teeth that have suffered minor damage or trauma. You should also be content with your teeth color before getting your bond, so discuss teeth whitening with your dentist in preparation for your bond if it’s something that’s on your mind.
What to Expect from Dental Bonding
First, we use a shade guide to select a resin shade that most closely matches the natural color of the tooth. Before attaching, the surface of the tooth is sanded down and lightly coated with a conditioning liquid so that the bonding material will more easily stick. Once preparation is complete, we will apply the resin to the tooth and mold it to fit. The material is subsequently hardened using an ultraviolet light. After this, we will apply the finishing touches.
A single-tooth bonding procedure usually takes between 30 to 60 minutes from start to finish, but may require several visits to complete if more than one tooth requires work. Because most tooth bonding procedures require no anesthetic, you can commence daily activities after we’re done.
Cosmetic Bonding Preparation and Procedure
Minimal preparation is needed for dental bonding on your end, outside of practicing standard oral hygiene. As long as you show up with your teeth brushed and flossed, you are good to go! If it is almost time for your biannual dental cleaning around the time of your procedure, you might consider moving up that cleaning and scheduling it beforehand.
To kick off your bonding appointment, your dentist will select a shade that best matches up with your teeth to prepare the resin. The actual composite resin is a pliable, putty-like material that can be molded into countless shapes. Local anesthesia may be necessary if a nerve is nearby the site of the procedure, but no anesthesia is typically needed for surface repairs. The bonding procedure then starts by making the surface of the tooth coarser and more susceptible to the bonding material. The dentist will subsequently apply a fluid to help the resin stick to your teeth. Next, they will apply and mold the resin into shape. After smoothing it down, they will use UV waves to cure and harden the resin in only a few seconds.
Interested in finding a dentist that specializes in cosmetic bonding near you in San Antonio? Call South Texas Smiles today at 210-614-3898 for more information!