What is Dental Bonding?

Dentists use composite or dental bonding to improve the look of decayed teeth, fix cavities, or repair damaged teeth. In most cases, bonding is applied to a smaller portion of the tooth, such as a chipped or cracked tooth, whereas a veneer covers the tooth's entire front surface. Dental bonding is a much faster and cheaper treatment option for minor cosmetic issues.

tooth bonding composite material
Dental Bonding

The bonding material is a putty composite resin that matches the color of your teeth. Once we apply the composite resin to your tooth surface, we utilize a special blue curing light. This blue light hardens the composite resin and bonds to the tooth. The essential thing in this process is that dentists must pick the right color of composite. And experienced cosmetic dentists use a layering technique with multicolored composites to create a natural and translucent look.

dental bonding for child
Child chipped tooth fixed using Bonding

How long does tooth bonding last?

Depending on the bonded tooth, your bite, and your eating habits, the durability of bonding varies. Dental bonding on the front teeth' surface can last about 3 to 8 years, but the composite resin used with this dental bonding procedure isn't as durable as your natural teeth. The composite material can chip or separate from your natural tooth if the bonding is close to the edge of the teeth where the other teeth hit or if you try biting directly into your food. Composites stain quicker than your natural teeth as well.

What is the difference between dental bonding and veneers?

There are notable differences between dental bonding and veneers. Veneers usually look natural (more translucent than composites) and do not stain. The composite partially restores and reinforces, while the veneer covers the entire structure of the tooth. Veneers last longer than composites; Veneers have a long-lasting structure because they cover and sit on the existing tooth structures underneath.

The lifespan of dental composits depends on the occlusion and your biting pattern and habits. Of course, personal oral care and professional oral maintenance will make a difference.

dental bonding before after
Chipped front teeth fix with bonding

Choosing between dental bonding and veneers

Composites (or direct bonding) are very technique sensitive, especially if you want natural-looking composites. The chair time is usually lengthy to achieve excellent cosmetic results with the layered composite application process. So it is generally used for single-tooth restoration and on a relatively small area.

Good candidates for the bonding are people who don't have appropriate gum positions and children whose teeth are still erupting. It is early for children to have veneers because the gum line will soon move up and show the veneers' margin.

We highly recommend veneers rather than composite bonding for those looking for a smile makeover with 4, 8, or 10 veneers. Veneers last longer and do not stain, and quickly give you a natural translucent look. We can also change the size and angle of each tooth for a straighter look.

We always use this bonding technique to mock up the final results before the veneers. Patients can get some ideas for how the final cosmetic results will look in the mouth and the face's shape. We can also test the functional outcome before we finalize the form. If the temporary bonding breaks in a couple of weeks, the final veneers probably will not last long, and if that is the case, we need to change the occlusion or the shape of the composite mock-up and avoid the problem in advance.

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Dr. Shimizu is an accredited member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. There are 419 dental professionals worldwide (Only four in Houston) as of 2022 who have achieved this prestigious honor.