Pros and Cons of Dental Bonding for a Better Smile
by Dr Richard Barry
Every human being can smile, and, like everything else, everyone’s smile is unique to them. It’s important for you to be satisfied with your smile. And if your smile isn’t as appealing as you’d like it to be, Lifetime Dental Health is here to help. Chipped, cracked, or discolored teeth aren’t attractive. They can cause you to stop smiling or make your smile smaller. But you don’t have to hide behind a less-than-pleasing smile when a simple procedure known as dental bonding can give you back the warm, welcoming smile you love.
What is dental bonding?
Dental bonding is a procedure in which we apply a durable plastic material called resin to a damaged tooth to improve the tooth’s appearance and resilience. We apply the resin (color-matched to your natural teeth) directly to the surface of a problem tooth and harden it. Once the resin is “cured” via blue light, the material is “bonded” to the tooth, and we can then file it smooth and shape it to blend with the natural teeth around it.
Of course, dental bonding isn’t a cure-all for every type of tooth damage, but for the right situation, it can be a quick and relatively inexpensive way to improve your smile. Depending on the level of damage, bonding can fill in gaps between teeth, hide roots revealed by receding gums, or build up a broken tooth. It is also often used to fill small cavities – especially ones in highly visible front teeth – because it’s less noticeable than silver or composite filling.
Why should I choose bonding to help my smile?
At Lifetime Dental Health, bonding is not the only cosmetic dentistry that could give you a winning smile, and there are advantages and disadvantages to any procedure. Although we encourage you to book a consultation with us to help determine the best solution for your situation, here’s a brief summary of four reasons why you might want to choose bonding.
It’s fast. Among the several different ways to solve chipped, cracked, or stained teeth, dental bonding is often the quickest route to take. Alternatives such as veneers and crowns require restructuring the target tooth in some way. This means that getting a veneer or a crown involves at least two — and sometimes three — visits to the dentist. Bonding can be a single visit procedure — from 30 to 60 minutes start to smiling finish.
It costs less. If you compare bonding to the most common alternatives, bonding will likely come out to be less expensive. In addition to the cost of multiple office visits, veneers and crowns require the expertise and equipment of a specialized laboratory along with the skills of our professional dentists. You’ll need to check your own dental policy, but most dental insurance plans cover dental bonding, especially for structural reasons or to fill a cavity.
It’s versatile. Other types of cosmetic dental procedures can accomplish much of what bonding can, except for filling in the small cavities that may occur in your smile. Although veneers and crowns can sometimes address cavities, both are more complex solutions than a simple filling. Like veneers, bonding can cover chipped, cracked, or discolored teeth, and unlike a veneer, it can serve as a filling alternative for small cavities, too.
It’s comfortable. Both veneers and crowns require removing some of the natural enamel on the target tooth. They both also usually involve anesthesia. Bonding only requires anesthesia if it’s being used to fill a cavity, so it is preferred by people who cannot be anesthetized or who would simply prefer not to be.
What are the disadvantages of bonding?
While bonding comes highly recommended, there are disadvantages to the procedure you’ll want to be aware of before making a decision.
Bonding will stain. One of the differences between veneers/crowns and bonding is that, just like your natural teeth, the resin used in bonding will stain. Bonding resin is porous, so smoking and coffee or tea can be especially hard on its surface. If your teeth are stained from something you’re doing, your bonding will eventually be stained, too.
Bonding can chip. Like the enamel of your natural teeth, the resin used in bonding is not as strong as the porcelain of a dental crown or veneer. It is nearly as easy to chip as your teeth are, so if some of your habits — chewing on ice or your fingernails — were the cause of the chips you’re bonding over, you may want to stop.
Do bonded teeth need special care?
You can maintain the good looks and health of your bonded teeth with your normal oral hygiene routine, but to make bonding last as long as possible (up to 10 years, depending on your habits), follow these helpful tips:
Decrease your intake of coffee, tea, red wine, and other dark-colored food and drinks, and rinse your teeth well after you finish them.
Stop chewing on hard candies, ice, large nuts, your pen or pencil, or your nails. This can chip bonding as easily as it chips natural teeth, and if bonding is damaged, it must be removed and reapplied.
Call us if you notice sharp edges on your bonded teeth or if your bite seems off after your teeth are bonded. If we catch a problem early, it can likely be repaired, or the bonding can be reapplied.
Dental bonding takes some artistic skill to do its best for your smile. And, as we’ve noted, it’s not for every situation. We’d be happy to talk with you about whether bonding is right for your situation. Why not call us today?
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