Cosmetic bonding is the process of filling or restoring teeth with a tooth-colored material in order to maintain its natural appearance. In order to bond a tooth, tooth colored material is added to the tooth to build it up.
Dental bonding is an option that can be considered for the following reasons:
- To repair decayed teeth (composite resins are used to fill cavities)
- To repair chipped or cracked teeth
- To improve the appearance of discolored teeth
- To close spaces between teeth
- To make teeth look longer
- To change the shape of teeth
- As a cosmetic alternative to amalgam fillings
- To protect a portion of the tooth’s root that has been exposed when gums recede
Dental cosmetic bonding is among the easiest and least expensive of cosmetic dental procedures. Unlike veneers and crowns, which are customized tooth coverings manufactured in a lab, cosmetic bonding usually can be done in one office visit unless several teeth are involved. Another advantage, compared with veneers and crowns, is that the least amount of tooth enamel is removed. Also, unless dental bonding is being performed to fill a cavity, anesthesia is usually not required.
Because there are limitations with dental bonding, some dentists view it as best suited for small cosmetic changes, for temporary correction of cosmetic defects, and for correction of teeth in areas of very low bite pressure.
Teeth that are cosmetically bonded do not require special care. It is best to simply follow good oral hygiene practices: Brush teeth at least twice a day, floss at least once a day, rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash once or twice a day, and see your dentist for regular professional check-ups and cleanings.
Because bonding material can chip, it is important to avoid such habits as biting fingernails; chewing on pens, ice, or other hard food objects; or using your bonded teeth as an opener. If you do notice any sharp edges on a bonded tooth or if your tooth feels odd when you bite down, call your dentist.