Dental bonding is one of the most inexpensive yet versatile tools in the office of a cosmetic dentist. Bonding involves painting a tooth-colored composite resin over the treatment area, then hardening the resin using a special type of light. The ability for the bond to go on soft and set hard means that it can be used in several different ways.
What are some of the potential uses for dental bonding -- and their pros and cons?
Cover Intrinsic Stains
Dental stains can either occur outside the enamel or inside the enamel. These stain types are called extrinsic and intrinsic, respectively. Extrinsic stains tend to happen due to frequent ingestion of staining foods such as red wine or coffee. These stains are usually easy to remove via teeth whitening.
But intrinsic stains, which typically occur due to antibiotic use or dental trauma, are trapped underneath the enamel, so teeth whitening agents can't reach the stain. The fastest and most affordable way to cover these stains is to use tooth bonding.
If you aren't also prone to extrinsic staining, the tooth bonding should provide sufficient cover. But the composite resin material can stain if you drink wine or coffee and don't immediately brush your teeth. You should also visit the dentist regularly for deep cleans to keep the bonds looking fresh. If surface stains are allowed to mount on the resin, it might become necessary to replace the bonding material.
Cavities or Cracks
If the cavity or crack in a tooth is shallow, then bonding can serve as an excellent filling material. The dentist can easily paint the bonding material over the affected area and your tooth will be as good as new.
The downside is that bonding isn't the strongest dental filling material on the market. So if the cavity or crack is deep and on a tooth that carries the brunt of chewing pressure, the bonding material can end up cracking or breaking. For those more damaged teeth, a better option might be a dental crown, which is custom-crafted to fit your teeth using an impression and then bonded on.
Change Shape of Teeth
Bonding can be used to gently reshape a tooth that's smaller than its neighbors. The bonding can also be used to close minor gaps between teeth.
Again, the relative brittleness of the resin means that bonding isn't the best choice for large-scale reshaping projects. If you have large gaps or multiple teeth that need reshaping, you might want to opt for veneers. With veneers, the dentist shaves down most of your natural tooth and creates a new custom tooth front that bonds on and can completely change the shape and positioning of your teeth.
Speak with a dentist like Picone Dental - Vincent J Picone DDS to learn more about the benefits of dental bonding.