Over the last several years, dental bonding has quickly become one of the most common restorative dentistry procedures performed in our office. This process involves permanently restoring a tooth using a special composite or other material to it using a special dental cement. Even if you aren’t aware of it, chances are if you’ve ever had dental work done, you’ve experienced some form of dental bonding. This procedure is used in everything from filling a cavity to attaching complex dental restorations. There are two main types of dental bonding used today: direct composite bonding and adhesive bonding.
Direct Composite Bonding
When Dr. Mabry performs a dental restoration by applying a tooth-colored composite resin directly to the tooth, this is referred to as direct composite bonding. This can be used to correct a wide variety of dental issues, including:
- Cracked, chipped, and broken teeth
- Teeth that have suffered unusual wear, whether due to bruxism or other causes
- Tooth gaps
- Discolored teeth
- Teeth that are improperly shaped
- Teeth that are slightly crooked
Direct composite bonding is very convenient, normally requiring only a single visit to our office. Unlike other dental restorations, there is no need to wait while a custom prosthetic or restoration is created; this can be performed right in our office. In a few more complicated cases you may be asked to return for a second visit, however, this is very rare.
Unlike other treatments, this restoration offers patients a quick solution and will instantly change the appearance of their smile. For this reason, it may be preferred to other treatment options, such as dental veneers or porcelain crowns.
Adhesive bonding is the most common form of dental bonding. This process is used when a dental restoration such as a dental crown, veneer, or onlay/inlay needs to be permanently attached to the teeth. In this case, the composite and bonding agent will be applied to the tooth and hardened using an ultraviolet light.
How the Bonding Process Works
The bonding process will begin the same way regardless of which type of dental bonding you are receiving. Dr. Mabry will use a rubber dam to isolate your teeth from the gums in order to prevent saliva from interfering with the bonding agent. In certain dental restorations, you will be given a local anesthetic in order to keep you comfortable throughout the procedure. Next, a solution of phosphoric acid will be applied to your teeth. This gently roughens the enamel, allowing the composite bonding material to stick to the teeth. This will only be left on the teeth for approximately 15 seconds before being rinsed away. The bonding agent will then be applied to the teeth.
In a direct composite bonding, Dr. Mabry will use a shade guide and the natural color of your teeth to choose the proper color of bonding material to use. Once the teeth are prepared, he will place the composite resin onto the tooth or teeth to be restored before sculpting it into the correct shape. An ultraviolet curing light will then be used to quickly harden the material. Dr. Mabry will then carefully remove any sharp edges and finish shaping the composite. This step will be repeated until the restoration is completed. The composite will then be polished to appear more natural.
In an adhesive bonding procedure, Dr. Mabry will place the resin onto your restoration and place both carefully onto your teeth. Any extra composite will then be removed and the ultraviolet curing light will e used to quickly harden the bonding material. This permanently cements your dental restoration into place. Dr. Mabry will then check the fit of the restoration and make any necessary adjustments.
Some patients experience increased tooth sensitivity following a bonding procedure. While this is normal, you should contact our office if it persists beyond a week or two.
Caring for your Dental Bonding
The composite used in dental bonding is very strong, but it isn’t indestructible. You will need to avoid chewing ice and other non-food items. In some cases, you may also be advised to use care when eating particularly difficult to chew items such as caramel, apples, and raw carrots. If you feel an odd or painful sensation in your restoration when biting down, call our office immediately so that we can check for damage.
Dental composite is also more prone to staining than your natural teeth. In order to prevent stains, you will need to avoid beverages such as red wine, tea, and soda. If you do drink these, rinse your mouth with water immediately afterward to reduce any staining that may occur. Continuing a regular schedule of bi-annual visits for professional cleanings can help to ensure that your bonding remains stain-free and undamaged.
If you would like more information on dental bonding, or if you have questions about the other dental restorations offered in our office, call us today to schedule a consultation.