Dental bonding is a procedure in which a tooth-colored resin material is applied and hardened with a special light, which ultimately "bonds" the material to the tooth to restore or improve an individual's smile.
It is an option for repairing decayed teeth (composite resins are used to fill cavities), chipped or cracked teeth, improving the appearance of discolored teeth, closing spaces between teeth, making teeth look longer, changing the shape of teeth, protecting a portion of the tooth's root that has been exposed when gums recede and as a cosmetic alternative to amalgam fillings.
First, the dentist will use a shade guide to select a composite resin color that will closely match the color of your tooth. Then the surface of the tooth will be roughened and a conditioning liquid applied so the bonding material adheres to the tooth.
The tooth-colored, puttylike resin is then applied, molded and smoothed to the desired shape. The material is hardened with an ultraviolet light or laser and dentist can further trim, shape it and polish it to match the sheen of the rest of the tooth surface. This procedure takes about 30 to 60 minutes per tooth to complete.
Advantages of dental bonding are: easiest and least expensive of cosmetic dental procedures, usually can be done in one office visit unless several teeth are involved, the least amount of tooth enamel is removed, compared with veneers and crowns, and anesthesia is usually not required.
The disadvantage is that the material used in dental bonding is not resistant and strong as well as crowns, veneers, or fillings so it is best suited for small cosmetic changes, for temporary correction of cosmetic defects, and for correction of teeth in areas of very low bite pressure (for example, front teeth).
Bonded teeth do not require any special care, simply good oral hygiene practice (brushing teeth at least twice a day, floss at least once a day and see a dentist for regular professional check-ups and cleanings).
It is important to avoid such habits as biting fingernails, chewing on pens, ice or other hard food objects; or using bonded teeth as an opener because bonding material can chip.
Usually bonding material lasts from 3 years up to about 10 years before needing to be touched up or replaced.
The costs may vary depending on where you live, but generally, it can range in cost from $100 to $400 per tooth.