Common for both restorative and cosmetic dentistry, dental bonding can greatly restore and enhance your smile. This multi-functional procedure involves the application and bonding of a tooth-colored resin material onto the tooth to correct certain imperfections or address specific problems. The resin material used in dental bonding is essentially a polymer-based composite (a durable plastic) that matches the patient’s tooth color as closely as possible. This composite resin material is designed to be tough, so it can withstand the chewing and biting forces and last the longest in terms of wear down.

If you’ve been thinking of having this procedure, here is a 10-point guide to getting dental bonding.

A 10 Point Guide For Dental Bonding

1. Decide if you’re a candidate for dental bonding: The dental bonding procedure is used for both cosmetic and restorative purposes. The bonding material can be used to whiten teeth, straighten crooked teeth, reshape misshapen or unsightly teeth, repair small fractures or chips on teeth, or enhance the overall appearance of your smile. The tooth colored filling material could also be a great option for filling cavities or replacing old mercury fillings. So dental bonding can be an ideal option for you if your teeth are shorter (at least some of them), cracked, stained, discolored, chipped, damaged due to decay, gapped, structurally damaged, contain small holes; or you’ve previously had fillings or if you have receding gums.
When done properly, the procedure can provide optimum results that are both aesthetically pleasing and long lasting.

2. Make sure you understand how the procedure works: Knowing what to expect during the dental bonding procedure is important. First of all, you need to understand that the procedure will involve the application of a composite resin material to one or more teeth that are negatively affecting your smile. This plastic resin material will be tooth colored to enable it to blend in. The procedure itself starts with the removal of some surface enamel, typically via tooth trimming. This allows the dentist to shape and mold the composite resin material to your tooth. Next, the dentist will roughen the surface of the tooth to enable the resin material to properly adhere to it, and apply a liquid conditioner or bonding agent. The resin material is then applied onto this roughened tooth surface with a bonding agent and molded into a suitable shape that mimics a natural tooth. A laser or ultraviolet light is used to harden the resin material. Once the material is hardened, the dentist will smooth the resin material and shape it further, ending by polishing it appropriately, so that it matches the rest of the teeth.

3. Anesthesia: Typically, anesthesia shots are not required in a tooth bonding procedure. But your dentist may numb the affected area with a topical numbing agent to minimize pain and discomfort during the procedure. Though this procedure is minimally invasive, you should expect to experience some minor pain or discomfort – particularly when your tooth/teeth are being shaved down and prepared. But this is a minor issue that should not bother you at all.

4. Procedure time: Dental bonding is one of those procedures that can be completed in one dental visit. It takes about 30-60 minutes to complete bonding for each tooth. So depending on the number of the affected teeth, you can easily calculate how long it will take for you to complete the procedure.

5. Weigh the pros and cons of dental bonding: Before deciding if it’s appropriate for you, it’s important to consider its pros and cons – particularly when compared to those of its alternatives like veneers and crowns. Firstly, when compared to veneer bonding and crowns, dental bonding offers the easiest and cheapest way to correct teeth imperfections and improve smile. The procedure can be accomplished in one dental visit since there’s no expensive and time-consuming laboratory work for creating custom tooth coverings. What’s more, very little of the enamel is removed with this procedure and there’s no need for anesthesia (except for when the treatment is used for repairing cavities), which gives it major advantages over options like crowns and veneers.

As far as disadvantages are concerned, one of the main drawbacks of dental bonding is the fact that the composite resin material is not as strong and durable as porcelain or gold, and may chip or crack. Because of this, tooth damage may occur even after tooth bonding. The tooth bonding material general lasts about 5 years, while porcelain and composite prosthetics can last anywhere from 15 to 20 years! To make matters worse, the composite bonding material tends to be less stain resistant compared to those used in creating crowns and fillings. This can be particularly problematic if you’re a smoker of an ardent coffee drinker. Because of these disadvantages, many dental professionals suggest tooth bonding only for making smaller cosmetic changes and restorations.

6. Consider the cost of dental bonding: How much does dental bonding cost in your area? This is something that you need to know before you consider this procedure. The average cost of a dental bonding procedure can vary depending on several factors, such as the: type of filling/composite bonding material used, location of the tooth being restored, number of tooth surfaces involved, your location (small town or large city), and the specific dental clinic. Typical costs range from $210 to $290 per tooth (if the restoration involves all tooth surfaces).

7. Check with your dental insurance provider to see if you’re eligible for coverage: Bonding procedures are often covered by dental insurance plans under basic procedures. Dental insurance plans may cover all or part of the expenses, depending on the type and the insurance company. If you don’t have dental insurance, or if your health insurance doesn’t cover this procedure, try to work with dentists that offer affordable payment plans. Many dental clinics offer in-house financing or work with financial companies to provide patient finance solutions. By utilizing their services, you can make your dental bonding procedure affordable.

8. Negotiate dental bonding work fees: Whether you have dental insurance or not, you need to know that you can negotiate on the price of your procedure. Many providers are always willing to negotiate on price. Find out about the ongoing rates in your area and have a conversation with your dentist up front, before the dental visit or bonding procedure. Alternatively, if you get the bill for the procedure and believe the fee was unreasonable or cannot afford it, you can try bargaining it down at that point. And don’t forget to ask about payment assistance programs.

9. Your ideal dentist: Because the dental bonding procedure involves a high level of technique for a naturally-looking shape and mold, it is best to work with a dental professional who has extensive experience and is specialized in this area.

10. Be sure to carry out proper maintenance of dental bonding work: The maintenance of dental bonding work requires a little more than regular dental hygiene. After the procedure, you should make sure you take good care of your bonded teeth by brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily, and visiting your dentist regularly. At each dental appointment, your dentist will check your bonded teeth as well as your overall oral health for cracks, chips and other structural flaws. Even with proper dental care, you may require bonding touch-ups every few years. And during these follow-up treatments, your dental professional can repair composite resin material that has chipped, cracked, stained, or faded. You’ll be required to implement a tooth-friendly diet and avoid foods and substances that could stain your teeth or affect the adhesives bonding the composite material to your teeth.