Dental bonding is a popular treatment that offers both restorative benefits to improve the health of your smile and cosmetic benefits to improve its look. This highly versatile treatment option has several applications and is cost-effective, easy to apply, and non-invasive. All of these benefits make it a popular choice for maintaining a healthy smile while revitalizing your aesthetic appearance.
What Is Dental Bonding?
Dental bonding is a composite resin material (a type of durable plastic) that resembles tooth enamel when hardened and can be dyed to blend in seamlessly with the tooth enamel surrounding the treatment area.
Dental bonding can be applied to a tooth and then shaped, molded, sculpted, textured, and smoothed to achieve the patient’s desired look.
In cosmetic applications, dental bonding is used to:
- Cover up stubborn stains and other discoloration
- Repair chipped teeth
- Fill in gaps between teeth
- Enhanced teeth that are too small
- Correct the shape of teeth that are irregularly sized
- Improve smile symmetry and balance
In restorative applications, dental bonding is commonly used to:
- Fill dental cavities
- Seal, repair, and restore broken teeth
- Seal cracked or fractured teeth
- Seal and fortify soft spots on the enamel
- Eliminate tooth sensitivity due to gum tissue recession
Once applied to the teeth and properly shaped, a special ultraviolet light is applied to the bonding to cure it and complete the treatment process on the spot.
How Long Does Dental Bonding Last?
On average, dental bonding lasts for 5 to 10 years before it needs to be replaced, repaired, or touched up.
While composite resin is a strong material, it is not completely indestructible. Over time, dental bonding can become stained and not blend in as well with your natural teeth. While this isn’t very concerning if the bonding is on the back sides of the teeth or on less visible molars, it can be a concern with dental bonding on the front or more visible teeth.
Dental bonding that has been applied to strengthen or lengthen teeth that have been worn down due to malocclusion or bruxism (grinding and clenching) can be damaged by the same issues that affected the natural surface of the teeth.
In addition to bruxism, eating hard foods, chewing ice, or biting your fingernails or pens can also inflict excessive wear, damaging dental bonding. These habits can shorten its lifespan.
How to Prolong the Life of Your Dental Bonding Work
The type of composite resin used, how much resin is needed for the repair or treatment, the health and strength of the teeth being treated, and the location where the dental bonding is placed can all affect the lifespan of your dental bonding work. While these factors are not necessarily under your control, there are some things you can do to protect your dental bonding and prolong its life.
- Do not chew on hard objects.
- Break habits like biting your nails and chewing on pens or pencils.
- Avoid or limit the hard or sticky foods you eat.
- Limit the highly pigmented foods and drinks you consume (wine, tea, coffee, chocolate, and berries).
- Wear an athletic mouthguard during sports and other physical activities.
- Take steps to reduce your daytime stress in order to alleviate the grinding and clenching associated with bruxism.
- Get a dental night guard to protect your teeth and dental work from grinding and clenching while you sleep.
- Address any malocclusion or temporomandibular joint disorder you might have to correct your bite and alleviate pressure on your teeth.
When to Have Your Dental Bonding Replaced or Repaired
Dental bonding in good condition should look and feel like your natural, healthy teeth. You can tell if your dental bonding needs to be repaired or replaced when you start to notice it either as a result of changes in the way it looks or feels in your mouth.
If you notice that your dental bonding has taken on a different shade than your surrounding teeth, if you can feel lifted or sharp corners, or if your teeth feel different than usual when you bite down then you might need repairs or a replacement.
If you believe your dental bonding might be damaged, it’s important to contact the dentist right away – especially if your dental bonding was placed to repair a damaged tooth. Damaged dental bonding could leave your tooth vulnerable to an infection or further damage.
Are There Any Longer-Lasting Alternatives to Dental Bonding?
For its cost and ease of treatment, 5 to 10 years is a pretty good lifespan, making dental bonding a highly effective and desirable treatment. There are, however, some alternatives that can be longer lasting.
For cosmetic and restorative purposes, dental crowns completely cover a patient’s tooth, protecting it and providing the opportunity to cover stains or correct the shape or size of a tooth.
For purely cosmetic purposes, dental veneers are a permanent treatment option designed to makeover the look of a single tooth to an entire smile. They can also be fairly delicate, however, and they require proper care to maintain and preserve.
Cosmetic and Restorative Dental Treatments at Northern Colorado Prosthetic Dentistry
At Northern Colorado Prosthetic Dentistry, our prosthodontist, Dr. Andrew Bock is highly experienced in helping patients improve the health and appearance of their smiles with a variety of restorative and cosmetic treatments including dental bonding, dental veneers, and more.
To learn more about dental bonding and how it could benefit your smile, we welcome you to contact Northern Colorado Prosthetic Dentistry to schedule a consultation with Dr. Bock today.