Overview

Bonding involves the application of a tooth-coloured composite resin (plastic) to the teeth. It can be used to repair decayed, chipped, fractured, discoloured teeth, to change the appearance of teeth and as a cosmetic alternative to amalgam fillings. Bonding can be done in a single visit to your dentist.

Benefits

Bonding is among the easiest and least expensive cosmetic dental procedure. The composite resin used in bonding can be shaped and polished to match the surrounding teeth. Most often, bonding is used for cosmetic purposes to improve the appearance of discoloured or chipped teeth. It also can be used to close spaces between teeth, to make teeth look longer or to change the shape or colour of teeth.

Care

Tea, coffee, red wine, cigarette smoke and other substances can stain the resin used in bonding. To prevent or minimize stains, avoid eating or drinking these types of foods and drinks during the first 48 hours after any composite procedure. In addition, brush your teeth often and have them cleaned every six months by a dental hygienist.

Procedure

The first step is to schedule a consultation with your dentist so you can discuss your treatment goals. Your dentist will use a shade guide to select the composite resin colour that matches the colour for bonding.

Once your dentist has chosen the color, he or she will slightly etch the surface of the tooth to prepare it for bonding. The tooth will then be coated lightly with a conditioning liquid, which helps the bonding material adhere.

When the tooth is prepared, your dentist will apply the tooth-coloured, putty-like resin. The resin is moulded and smoothed into shape and then hardened with an ultraviolet light or laser.

After the bonding material is set, your dentist will trim and shape it, and polish the material until it matches the sheen of the rest of the tooth surface.

The procedure usually takes from 30 minutes to an hour to complete. If you are having more than one tooth done, you may need to schedule more time or additional visits.