Tooth bonding is a common dental procedure where the dentist uses tooth-colored resin material and applies it over a tooth for cosmetic or therapeutic reasons.
- Cosmetic bonding: when a patient is unhappy with the appearance of a tooth – be it its size or shape, bonding can be applied to mimic the appearance of more tooth structure and correct minor imperfections. For example, bonding can be used to close a small gap, or to create a desired tooth shape for esthetics.
Therapeutic bonding: when a patient has teeth that have missing or worn down enamel, due to aggressive brushing or in areas where there is gum recession, bonding can be applied over those areas to repair the damage and reduce sensitivity and the risk of cavities.
Bonding is typically done in a single visit.
- Numbing is typically not required when bonding does not involve the removal of caries (cavity).
- The dentist will roughen the tooth surface gently in order to allow the materials to have good retention. The amount of tooth structure removed will depend on whether there is any caries (decay) present.
- Cotton is applied near the cheek or tongue to keep the teeth dry.
- Liquid etchant or bonding agent is applied first to help the bonding material attach. Sometimes it is necessary to apply a plastic strip or a matrix band between teeth during the procedure to ensure the correct amount of contact space is achieved.
- Shade-matched bonding material is applied, and then cured with a UV light that completely hardens it in seconds.
- The bonded restoration is shaped and polished.
- The bite and contact spaces are checked, and any adjustments made if necessary.
The best way to care for teeth with bonding is the same as caring for natural teeth. Proper brushing with a soft toothbrush, flossing, and a regular professional cleaning at the dentist office will extend the life of your bonding.
Patients who’ve had bonding on their teeth should be mindful of the following:
- If bonding was applied on biting edges of front teeth, it is best to avoid directly biting on hard foods (carrots, apples, etc.) using your front teeth.
- Bonding material does not change shades when using whitening agents, so consider doing any bleaching prior to committing to the shade of your restoration.
- Bonding material will also stain over time and require replacement to maintain proper shade matching.
- Since bonding material is a plastic resin, the longevity of this type of restoration is significantly less than porcelain restorations (such as veneers or crowns), so it is normal for bonded restorations to require replacement more frequently than a porcelain restoration.
- Cosmetic bonding is limited to correcting minor imperfections only. For more extensive cosmetic makeovers, or when a significant amount of tooth structure is missing, veneers or crowns offer significantly better results.
The vast majority of dental insurance plans cover bonding. Coverage is typically allowed at 70-90%, with the premium plans covering this procedure at 100%. The office of Dr. Mazen Natour will handle all insurance matters for its patients. Please call us if you have any questions about your coverage.