Have you been embarrassed by the condition of your smile for a while, but don’t know what to do about? Cosmetic dentistry is a great option if you are not happy with the appearance of your smile, but your teeth and gums are overall healthy with no major complications. One of the most common cosmetic produces done to correct minor problems with your smile is tooth bonding.

Tooth bonding involves your dentist using a composite resin (same used to fill in cavities) to cover up discolored teeth, fix chipped or broken teeth or fill in gaps between teeth. The composite resin is tooth-colored so it will blend in with the rest of your teeth.

While tooth bonding is less invasive and less expensive than other cosmetic dentistry options like veneers where a more permanent porcelain shell is adhered to the front of your teeth, it is susceptible to staining so you will have to watch what you eat and drink. It also does not last as long as veneers do. Tooth bonding will need to be touched up at least 5 years or more.

Cost is usually also a big factor in which procedure you choose. Tooth bonding typically costs anywhere between $200 and $700 a tooth whereas veneers can cost anywhere from $800 to $2,000 dollars a tooth. That is not considering if multiple teeth need fixing.

What to Expect During the Procedure?

Typically, the dentist will apply a resin to the damaged tooth to fill in any cracks or chips or to cover up any stains. The material is tooth-colored so it will blend into the rest of the tooth. Before the resin can be added, however, the dentist will first roughen up the surface enamel to make it easier for the bonding material to stick. A special light is used to harden the resin. Once the material adheres to the tooth, the dentist then can reshape it so it fits in naturally with your other teeth.

The dentist will use a drill to do the shaping which can cause some tooth sensitivity so he or she may numb the area first. You will be asked to bite down several times throughout the process to make sure that your bite is not altered by the bonding. Your dentist can give you a full run down of the whole procedure ahead of time so you don’t feel nervous during your visit.

What to Expect After the Procedure?

Right after you leave the dentist’s office, your teeth may feel a little sensitive to the touch or when you are eating and drinking, but that will only last a little while. Your teeth might also feel bigger or more cumbersome in your mouth at first because of the resin added, but that feeling will fade as you get used to the changes in your mouth. These are minor frustrations when you consider how happier and more confident you feel when you can smile without embarrassment again.

Extending the Life of Tooth Bonding

With proper care, it is possible to extend the life of the bonding. Watch carefully what you eat and drink to avoid staining the composite resin and stay away from hard candy and chewing on ice cubes which could cause cracks in the bonding. Also avoid bad habits like chewing on your fingernails or on pen caps. Cracking open nut shells with your teeth is not advised either.

Problems can also develop when you have uncorrected bite problems. Alignment issues can cause teeth grinding which will lead to extra wear and tear on both your teeth and the composite material so talk to your dentist about fixing that before investing in the bonding.

Properly brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day and getting a professional cleaning every 6 months will also help keep both the bonding and your natural teeth in good shape and prevent food and plaque buildup from causing tooth decay and gum disease. The goal isn’t just to cover up problems, but to keep your mouth as healthy as possible.

In the first few days after the bonding, be extra careful about not putting too much pressure on the teeth and avoid drinking red wine, coffee or tea to prevent staining. If you are a smoker, you should probably kick the habit before getting dental bonding done because tobacco also stains the teeth.

Other Alternatives to Consider

If tooth bonding is not the right solution for your particular situation, veneers might be. Veneers can be used to correct certain types of fractures that the bonding can’t fix and they are made out of a stronger, sturdier material so they won’t stain and will last for up to 20 years when taken care of properly.

Veneers are a more invasive procedure however and can’t be done in just one visit like tooth bonding can. It usually takes two to three visits to prepare the teeth, have impressions made and have the veneers adhered to the front of your teeth. In preparation for the veneers, the dentist will have to remove some of the enamel from your teeth.

Also if the tooth that is damaged in a high bite pressure than your dentist will probably recommend either a veneer or crown instead because they can better withstand the pressure.

For best results, set up a couple of consultations with different cosmetic dentists so you can get a better sense of your particular situation and the best solutions for your needs. Each dentist might offer you different solutions so make sure you do enough research so you can feel confident not only in your choice of procedure, but also choice in dentist. Cosmetic dentistry is an art form as well as a science so you will want to choose a dentist that has the skill and experience to transform your smile into a beautiful work of art.

Want to learn more about tooth bonding and if it is the right solution for you? Contact PA Dental Wellness today for a free consultation.