Sometimes it’s almost magical the way that dentistry can fix decayed or broken teeth, making them beautiful and functional once again. And one of the best ways of doing that is dental bonding.
So, what exactly is bonding? It’s a way of using materials that look like natural teeth, in order to fix up bad-looking teeth or even replace teeth that have come to the end of their natural life. Bonding materials are used to fix discoloration, chipping, spacing problems, and even to create new, strong, resilient teeth. Composite resins are made of glass and plastic, and they look amazingly natural.
So, why is it called bonding? It’s because the composite material actually bonds, in the sense that bonding means “to become one,” with the natural tooth. The results are incredibly lifelike, strong and durable.
With composite resin, you get an amazingly lifelike result. The material is created by a genuine artist who has a skilled hand, and who knows how to create a tooth that is indistinguishable from its natural neighbors.
Composite resins come in a variety of tooth shades for truly lifelike results. When bonding is done with a skilled hand and an artistic eye, it may be impossible to distinguish the bonded tooth from its neighbors, and no drilling is needed.
Because bonding doesn’t require lab work, it can usually be done in a single visit to your dentist’s office. You should be in and out in about half an hour. The process involves cleaning the tooth’s surface, and then etching it with an acidic gel that will open up pores in the surface of the tooth. Once the gel is rinsed off, the resin is matched and painted onto the tooth, filling the pores. Then a curing light hardens the bonding material. If additional layers are needed, then they’re built up and cured until the restoration layer is sufficiently thick. Once the tooth looks right, and fits with your other teeth, the new tooth is shaped and polished.
Caring for Your Bonded Teeth
You should brush and floss your bonded teeth every day, the same way you would your natural teeth. You should also have them cleaned twice yearly. And, as is the case with your natural teeth, you should avoid smoking, and drinking tea or coffee. This is actually more important with bonded teeth, because the composite that is used in your restoration can darken, but it can never be lightened.
And finally, don’t do anything that could put force on your bonded teeth – don’t bite on pens, chew your nails, or use your teeth in any way other than eating. If you look after your bonded teeth, they’ll probably last you up to ten years. If you don’t… well, don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Text Copyright © 2015 Louis K. Cheung DDS PS – All rights reserved. Images used under license from Dear Doctor, Inc.