Bonding is a non-invasive and quick cosmetic treatment that uses composite resin to restore a discoloured, chipped, or broken tooth. Cosmetic dental bonding can also fill gaps between teeth.
Why use bonding?
Bonding is most often used to improve the appearance of chipped or discoloured teeth. The resin is placed on the teeth and is shaped to look as natural as possible. This treatment can often be done in one easy visit.
How long does bonding last?
The material used to do the bonding is not as durable as your natural teeth. Your eating and chewing habits will determine how long the bonding lasts. Avoid biting on hard food and objects, especially if the bonding is on your front teeth. Patients who grind their teeth are also more susceptible to chips. On average it is estimated that bonding last between three to five years.
How do I care for the bonded teeth?
Avoid tea, coffee, wine, and cigarettes in the first days after the bonding treatment to refrain from staining the material. Once bonded, you can treat the tooth just as you do the rest of your teeth. Twice-daily brushing, flossing, and regular dental exams and teeth cleanings are all that is needed to maintain the integrity of the bonded teeth.
How does the material stick to my teeth?
The teeth are first cleaned to remove any food and plaque. This is done using a conventional toothbrush and floss. After this has been done and the teeth are cleaned using an etching gel. This is a mild form of acid (safe to use in the mouth) which is applied to create a microscopically rough surface, which is good for making things stick. The composite resin which begins like a putty is then bonded to the tooth. Once set, it forms a very strong connection to the tooth. The material is carefully layered and sculpted to the shape and form that you have requested.
Does bonding damage my tooth?
Unlike veneers, composite bonding does not usually require changes to the underlying teeth. As a result, the procedure is not considered to be as invasive. However, the acid etch process does remove a small amount of tooth, 20 microns to be precise. To put this into perspective, a human hair is approximately 40 microns thick. So, half the thickness of a human hair!
Is everyone suitable for bonding?
A smile makeover with composite is not always possible. In an ideal world the teeth should be moderately straight to begin with. However, where the teeth are not straight Invisalign treatment can be done before the bonding to put the teeth in a better position. This is a very common route to the best smile which is as minimally invasive as possible.
Does the procedure hurt?
Because the underlying teeth will not be altered in most cases, very often the procedure does not require an injection. However, sometimes a small amount may be required if the bonding material is being placed in close proximity or beneath the gums. This will be discussed with you prior to the treatment commencing.
How long does it last?
This is a very commonly asked question and can be very difficult to answer accurately. In short, it is highly variable for each individual patient. Many factors can effect the longevity of your bonding, including; smoking, an abrasive diet, tooth grinding habits, poor oral hygiene, contact sports, etc. The average life span quoted is 3-5 years. However this is difficult to guarantee. It is very unusual for bonding to fail completely (fall off or fracture entirely), however the material is susceptible to chipping and staining.
Who decides the colour and shape?
The colour and shape of your new teeth will be determined by you! This will be discussed with you at your initial consultation and can be tested before starting the process. Every smile is 100% bespoke. Photos of teeth that you like are helpful but cannot always be replicated 100%, because of the shape of your underlying teeth. Your dentist will make every effort to understand your needs and desires well before the day of treatment. We want you to be totally confident that you will get the smile that you want.
Does it feel natural?
Once polished the bonding material will feel shiny and smooth like your natural teeth. There will always be areas where the material joins onto the teeth but most patients tend to get used to this. All in all, they should feel totally natural. In some cases where teeth were not straight to begin, the material might be thicker, again this will be discussed with you prior to staring the treatment.
How many appointments does it take and what should I prepare?
Each case usually goes as follows :
- Consultation; 45-60 minutes – at this appointment we will discuss the treatment, take photos, show you cases etc.
- Bonding appointment: 3-4hours – if you are selected for treatment, this is the appointment where the creativity will begin. Wear comfortable clothing and feel free to bring headphones, your ipad etc. Eat a good meal, as you may get hungry!
- Review: 60 minutes – one week later you will be invited to return for a review where the teeth can be tweaked. Your feedback is important here as we want you to be happy with the final smile.
What happens if I want to have it removed?
The removal of composite bonding material can be a delicate procedure. Care must be taken to avoid damaging the underlying tooth structure.
There are specific pieces of equipment that are used to remove the material. The dentist will keep a close record of where the material has been placed.
The removal can take approximately 20-30 minutes/tooth and is charged at an hourly rate of £250.00.
Can bonding be re-done?
If your bonding needs to be re-done we will carefully remove the material and can directly place new material over the teeth.
What happens if my bonding chips or stains?
In most cases, when bonding chips it tends to be a small corner. This can either be polished or repaired. Repairs on the edge of a tooth can be susceptible to breaking again.
In these cases it may be necessary to re-do the tooth that has chipped. If your bonding chips you will not be susceptible to pain or infections as your underlying tooth will be safe. It will only be a cosmetic concern.
Staining of your bonding material can be due to; Poor oral hygiene. If you do not clean your bonding or floss adequately, stains will accumulate around the bonding material. In most cases this can be cleaned easily. But it is best avoided in the first instance.
With all bonding there is a natural breakdown of the bond to the tooth over time. As mentioned before the bonding material is essentially glued to your tooth. This “glue” can degrade over time. This can cause stains to build and can weaken the strength. In some cases this can be cleaned, but in more extreme cases, this can be a cause of failure and the bonding may need to be re-done.
Do I have any other options?
Yes, as will all treatments you have the option of doing nothing and keeping your teeth as they are.
Alternative ways of improving your teeth include porcelain veneers. For this process, the teeth have to be adjusted minimally to allow the changes to be made. If you are looking for absolute perfection then porcelain veneers may be more suitable for you. When doing veneers, more drastic changes can be made to the shape of your teeth.
Veneers require less long term maintenance and maintain their polish and shape for much longer. As with most patients who opt for bonding, the chances are that you have already looked into veneers and have been discouraged by the fact that you teeth need to be altered.
However, there are some instances where veneers are more suitable than bonding. If this is true for you, we will usually point out if this is the case.
Orthodontics is another treatment which will be discussed and explored if you are suitable. In some cases, this may have been done already.
Your dentist will discuss these options with you, but if you have any further questions please do not hesitate to ask.
Do I need to whiten my teeth, and can I whiten them after?
Most patients will whiten their teeth prior to the procedure, however if time is of the essence then you may wish to re-consider.
Whitening will often take a few weeks to complete and the bonding process cannot be started until two weeks have passed.
You can whiten your teeth after but the bonding material will not change colour. The whitening material will still be able to penetrate the tooth from the exposed regions, but it can be a slower procedure.
For more information regarding this treatmentBack to treatments
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