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?
“Let a smile be your umbrella.” “Smile and the world smiles with you.” We’ve all heard these well-known statements many times. And we know many things can make us smile: a newborn baby, a sunny day, a special memory. Smiles usually come naturally. But what if seeing your own smile doesn’t make you smile because it isn’t as attractive as you’d like it to be? Lifetime Dental Health can help, with two procedures designed to turn a so-so smile into a so nice one: bonding and veneers.
What’s the Difference Between Veneers and Bonding?
Dental veneers and dental bonding can both cover your chipped, cracked, or broken teeth so well that no one (except you and us) will know they aren’t your natural teeth. However, though they are designed to solve the same problems, differences between veneers and bonding may make one or the other more appropriate for your situation.
Bonding is simpler and less involved than a veneer. And it doesn’t change your tooth. Bonding uses dental resin to build directly upon the damaged or discolored tooth. Depending on the level of damage, it can fill in gaps between teeth, hide roots revealed by receding gums, or build up a broken tooth. We apply the resin (color-matched to your natural teeth) directly to the surface of a problem tooth and harden it using a special dental light. Once it’s hardened, we file it smooth, and shape it to blend with the shape of your other teeth.
A veneer is a piece of extremely thin porcelain shaped to cover the front of a damaged, misshapen, or discolored tooth. Like bonding resin, the porcelain is colored to match your natural teeth. Unlike bonding, a veneer involves an outside dental lab for its preparation and, most often, two or more dental appointments. In the first visit, we reshape your tooth and make an impression of it for the dental lab. In the second, we apply the veneer to your tooth with safe dental cement. To get a perfect fit, we may need to remove and adjust the veneer several times before it is set. Though more involved than bonding, a veneer can last for as long as 15 years.
What Are the 5 Most Important Factors to Consider Before Choosing?
Neither bonding nor veneers are right for every damaged tooth. And even for good candidates, bonding and veneers are not equally appropriate. Let’s look at 5 factors you’ll want to consider in making your choice:
Looks. Since the goal is a more appealing smile, the look of the result is an important consideration. Both procedures provide “new” teeth that look like – and react like – the rest. Over time, bonding is prone to staining and may need to be redone for best effect. Porcelain is virtually stainless, so If your teeth are significantly stained or discolored, a veneer will work better than bonding. As for chips, cracks, or breaks, bonding can be redone if need be; If a veneer cracks, the only fix is a crown.
Durability/Longevity. Whichever choice you make, you’ll want it to last as long as possible, and that’s dependent upon the material used. Bonding material is a dental resin brushed onto a tooth. That’s why you only need one dental visit, and why, if it chips or discolors, it can be readily repaired. Veneers are made of porcelain, and they are customized to your tooth. Veneers cannot be repaired.
Time. Bonding comes out ahead when it comes to time, as it can usually be done in a single dental visit. Veneers always require two visits, and sometimes three. To cure a painful tooth, or up your smile for a special occasion, a one-stop procedure could be the better call.
Cost. It’s no surprise that bonding is less expensive than veneers. Veneers require the skills and equipment of a dental lab in addition to that of a dentist. However, the difference lessens as the amount of work involved increases. For one or two teeth, bonding may be just what you want. However, the more teeth you have that need repair, the smaller the difference. Be sure to compare costs based on your actual situation, as in some cases veneers may be worth the extra bit more.
Maintenance. When it comes to daily care, veneers and bonding are equal, and a good dental hygiene routine, plus regular professional check-ups and cleanings, is crucial. Both bonded teeth and those with a veneer, need daily brushing and flossing just like your natural teeth. And like natural teeth, to keep them from chipping, cracking, or staining, it’s best to avoid hard food, such as hard candy, nuts, and crunchy snacks; dark beverages, such as red wine, dark fruit juices, and colas; chewing ice; and using tobacco.
This is a lot to think about regarding bonding and veneers, so you’ll want to be sure to start with a consultation to help you decide which procedure would be best for you. You can contact us or make an appointment online. Our dentists are always available to help you make a choice you’ll be happy with.
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