Also known as a bonded restoration, it is one of the most common restorative procedures dentists use to repair teeth. Bonding uses a tooth-coloured material known as composite resin. This procedure is considered an option to correct the following conditions:
- Decayed teeth
- Fix chipped or cracked teeth
- Close gap between teeth
- Improve the appearance of discoloured or uneven teeth surfaces
- Change the shape and/or length of teeth
- An alternative replacement for amalgam (silver) fillings
- Eliminate sensitivity by blocking exposed roots due to gum recession.
How is bonding done?
The tooth is prepared by completely removing the decay. Your dentist will then proceed with the application of a “tooth shampoo” which makes the tooth surface a little rough. This is necessary to allow the composite resin to stick or “bond” to the enamel of your tooth. The shade of the composite resin is chosen to match the colour of your tooth so that the bonding blends in with your teeth as closely as possible. The composite resin is placed in the tooth and then hardened with an ultraviolet light. The dentist then shapes and polishes the tooth.
Unlike veneers or crowns which are artificial caps that cover the tooth and are manufactured in a lab, bonding can be done easily in one visit. It is also the least expensive restorative procedure.
The composite resin is somewhat stain resistant; however, it does not resist stains as well as crowns do. Also the material is not as strong and thus not as long lasting as crowns or veneers, as they can chip and break off easier.
Bonding is less expensive than porcelain crowns/inlays/onlays. How long it lasts typically varies from patient to patient. It is difficult to accurately predict how long it lasts due to the many variables involved. For example, if a patient is a heavy grinder, and constant pressure is applied on the restored tooth, then naturally the bonding is more likely to fail sooner. However, it is safe to say that under “ideal” circumstances, bonding can last for years. But keep in mind that it is not forever, and that repairs will be necessary at some point in time.