What is dental bonding?
Dental bonding or teeth bonding is the dental process that involves permanently attaching a composite resin material to teeth using adhesives and high-intensity curing light. Dental bonding is almost exclusively cosmetic except for when it is used to fill cavities. When bonding is used to fill cavities, it is both therapeutic and cosmetic. It is therapeutic because it is restoring a tooth to full-functioning and pain-free use. It is cosmetic because the material is a preference based on appearance over the traditional amalgam fillings, not based on quality or durability. Teeth bonding is utilized to address a variety of problems including:
- To repair decayed teeth (composite resin is used to fill cavities)
- To repair chipped, cracked, or damaged teeth
- To fill gaps and spaces between teeth
- To restore stained or discolored teeth
- Repair crooked, misaligned, or irregularly shaped teeth
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Direct Composite Bonding
There are two types of dental bonding techniques. The first technique is known as direct composite bonding. Direct composite bonding can be thought of as the “spot-specific” option. It is a touch up to a predominantly satisfactory tooth except for small imperfections. Direct composite bonding is aimed at fixing the imperfection directly as opposed to altering the entire tooth. The process consists of applying a tooth-colored composite material that restores cracks and chips, closes gaps between teeth, and fills in cavities. Composite resin veneers are also a subset of this bonding category.
The second type of bonding technique is known as adhesive bonding. This technique involves attaching a restoration to a tooth with an adhesive. Adhesive bonding is different from direct composite bonding in that it replaces the entire service of the imperfect area instead of focuses on only restoring the blemish. This method is used for repairs involving porcelain veneers, esthetic crowns, bridges, inlays, and onlays.
How long does dental bonding last?
The longevity of your tooth bonding is determined by a multitude of factors but mostly can be decided by the type of bond, the location of the bond, and the care you provide for the alteration. The procedure and materials used vary in expected duration. Cavity fillings are durable for long periods due to them being embedded within the tooth. Porcelain veneers last longer than composite resin veneers because the material is better quality. Full tooth alterations hold up longer than fixes that only attach to an edge of a tooth.
The location is important when trying to determine how long the bond will last. Bonds that cover large areas of the tooth, or are planted in the middle of a flat surface will be secure longer than bonds that are located at the tip, corner, or edge of the tooth and are exposed to regular wear.
Another important factor that affects longevity is the care you provide for the bonded addition. Heavy wear regularly, trauma, or chewing of hard materials can damage and break dental bondings. Exposure to acidic drinks as well as staining materials such as coffee, wine, and tobacco will reduce the quality of the tooth bonding. With all of these factors in mind, the broad range of a bonding’s life span is 4 to 10 years. The timeframe can be expanded or shortened depending on the way you care for the bonding(s). For more information on teeth bonding check out this page.