The majority of people think of a flawless smile as bright, white, and straight teeth. Unfortunately, not many people are lucky to be born with this perfect smile. Even those born with it at some point, chipping and staining of the teeth can cause flaws in your smile. However, this shouldn’t mean that you will never fit the description of a flawless smile. At Washington Dental, it is possible to get a perfect smile and quality teeth through our cosmetic dentistry procedures. We have the state of the art technology to perform dental bonding to restore smiles for people in or around Los Angeles, Carson, Torrance & Lomita, CA. Before choosing this cosmetic dentistry solution, there are things discussed below that you need to understand about it.

Overview of Bonding 

Bonding is a cosmetic dentistry procedure in which your dentist attaches tooth-colored plastic material to a decayed, discolored, chipped, or cracked tooth using adhesives and unique lights. The process comes in two primary forms:

  1. Direct Composite

This form of bonding is used to repair cracked or chipped teeth and in filling cavities. The procedure can be done on a single visit to the dentist, and it is inexpensive for minor dental issues.

  1. Adhesive Bonding

The form of bonding is not a primary invigorating tool, but instead, it acts as a glue to hold crowns, bridges, and veneers in place during restoration.

During the dental bonding procedure, the dentist applies resin on the decayed or chipped tooth then shapes the material based on the measurements of the teeth. After, he or she polishes the tooth to match the natural color of the rest of your teeth. The process is referred to as bonding because the plastic or tooth-colored composite resin is bonded or attached to the tooth. Dental bonding should be your preferred procedure because compared to veneers, which are designed and produced in the lab, bonding is completed in a single day or appointment with your dentist.

Other Primary Uses of Bonding Apart from Cosmetic Dentistry

Apart from being a cosmetic dentistry solution, bonding has other essential uses. These primary uses include:

Pediatric Dentistry

It is a field of dentistry that focuses on children’s teeth, especially during the stage where kids begin to lose baby teeth and when they are approaching adolescence. The main focus of the field is to identify tooth decay before it is too late, pass knowledge to parents and children on how to care for the teeth and ways to prevent tooth decay. It is related to bonding because bonding is used to treat children's teeth issues, especially if it is cracked or fractured. The procedure is less painful and only takes a single day, thus ideal for children.

Prosthodontics

Prosthodontics is the application of implants on teeth that are severely damaged in terms of functionality and aesthetics. It is different from cosmetic dentistry, which focuses only on the appearance of the teeth. Bonding is applied here to fix severe cracks and fractures on the teeth.

Orthodontics

It is a field of dentistry whose focus is alignment or straightening misaligned teeth and jaws. Just like other dental procedures, orthodontics uses a bonding agent and tooth-colored plastic material to correct teeth issues.

Common Cosmetic Uses for Bonding 

If you are looking to improve the aesthetics and quality of your smile, bonding is the answer because it is affordable, non-invasive, durable, and can be completed with only one visit to the dentist. Compared to all other cosmetic dentistry procedures, it is the cheapest. Dental bonding is used in cosmetic dentistry to:

  1. Cover Dark Stains on Teeth

The majority of people with stains on the teeth opt for teeth whitening as a solution. Unfortunately, some stains cannot be removed with whitening alone, especially if the stains have been caused by smoking or long term use of particular medications. Such stains are deep and severe, and you will need teeth whitening and on top of it dental bonding to cover the remaining stains using the tooth-colored plastic material to make them look like the teeth that are naturally occurring.

  1. Altering the Shape and Size of Teeth

In situations where one tooth is longer than the other, cosmetic dentistry is required to change the size of the teeth. Whereas veneers and crowns can be used to remedy the situation, the best solution is dental bonding. Permanent material is attached to the tooth that you need to change the size and shape such that it becomes the meticulous size it is required to be to give you a flawless smile.

  1. Close Spaces in Between Teeth

If you have gaps in your teeth, you might be thinking of orthodontics has the perfect solution to your problem. However, despite the procedure being effective, it is not the best because it can take up to twenty-four months before it is completed. Considering the duration for completing the process, no one would want to have braces on for this period. Because of that, bonding is the best option because, in this procedure, the resin will be applied on the tooth to change its shape, thus closing the gap between the teeth in a single day.

Other Conditions Where Bonding is Considered

Aside from the cosmetic application, bonding is commonly used to:

  • Protect part of the tooth root that is left open after gum recedes
  • Offer an aesthetic alternative to an amalgam filling
  • Repair chipped teeth
  • Correct cracked teeth
  • Restore decayed teeth
  • Bond retainers

The Dental Bonding Procedure

Minimal preparations are needed in this procedure. There is no anesthesia involved unless in situations where you have a tooth decay that needs filling. Also, anesthesia is required if a tooth is to be drilled to alter its shape or where a chip has occurred very close to the nerve. In these situations, you might experience pain, and the best way to make bonding less painful is by the use of anesthesia. Besides these situations, no much of prepping is needed. All you need is to work with your dentist to choose a tooth-colored plastic material that is going to match the color of your tooth.

After you have picked the color, the bonding procedure begins. Your dentist starts by roughening the tooth surface and then applies a conditioning agent around the tooth to form a coating. Doing so helps the material stick to the tooth. The tooth-colored plastic material is then attached or applied to the tooth. The dentist then smooths and molds the resin to fill the gap or fix a crack or tooth decay. A high-intensity curing light is then used to harden the material, after which the dentist shapes and polishes the tooth further to match the look of natural teeth.

It takes a dentist between thirty to sixty minutes to bond one tooth. Therefore, the total duration taken to complete the procedure depends on the number of teeth to be bonded. After the process, make sure you keep off coffee, cigarettes, and tea two days after the treatment because they might stain the plastic material or resin that has been bonded with your teeth.

Advantages of Tooth Bonding

One of the key pros of tooth bonding is that it rectifies many tooth conditions such as chipped, cracked, fractured, and misshapen teeth. Besides, it is the most straightforward cosmetic dentistry procedure because it only takes between half to one hour to bond a single tooth. The procedure is again easy compared to veneers because it can be completed within a single appointment and doesn’t require customization or manufacture in the lab. Compared to other cosmetic dentistry procedures, bonding is the cheapest. Bonding is also invasive because it requires minimal teeth removal, thus enabling dentists to bond several teeth within a single appointment. Finally, there is no anesthesia or sedation needed in this procedure unless you have a cavity or a chip near the nerve.

Disadvantages of Dental Bonding

Despite bonding having many advantages in different situations, it has its shortcomings. One of the cons of the treatment is that while it is made of stain-resistant materials, it doesn’t resist stains as much as crowns. Furthermore, the material used in bonding is not strong enough and cannot last as long as your natural teeth. The material can also easily chip and break off the tooth.

Because of these disadvantages, while bonding is widespread, the majority of dentists only consider it for minor cosmetic dentistry procedures to correct cosmetic defects and restore teeth in areas with low bite pressure. With this said, it is essential that when you are thinking of a cosmetic dentistry solution, you consult with your dentist to prevent poor decisions.

Risks of Dental Bonding

Bonding has risks, but they are not as severe. The main risk of the procedure is that the bonding material is not durable. Certain habits like popping bottles with your teeth and biting nails could damage the bonding agent, thus detaching the resin from the tooth. To minimize the risk, try and avoid eating with areas where teeth have been bonded.

Bonding Candidacy

Not everyone is eligible for specific oral health care treatment procedures. Bonding is also not for everyone but is not overly selective. The majority of people with dental issues are suitable for this procedure. If you think you need to undergo the process, but you are not sure if it is right for you, visit your oral health care provider for consultation. They are going to assess the health condition of your teeth to ensure that you don’t have fundamental concerns that might impede you from undertaking the treatment. If you have an issue like gum infection or illness, it will be wise to treat it first before you undergo bonding.

Also, for persons whose teeth are severely damaged, bonding might not be the answer. If the decay is extended or the cracks are large, you might be forced to opt for veneers and crowns. When stains are involved, an excellent dentist will suggest whitening before bonding to match the color of the teeth being bonded to that of the naturally occurring teeth. Once the whitening is complete, you will have to wait for three weeks before undergoing bonding to ensure the bond created is long-lasting.

How Long Does Bonding Last

Bonding is durable and practical, but there is no set time frame for how long the resin or bonding agent will last. Roughly, it can serve you for three to ten years. However, longevity is dependent on how the teeth were bonded and your oral hygiene. It’s advisable to brush and floss your teeth twice a day. Besides, the shape of the bonding will also determine how long it will last. Where the bonding agent is located also has a pivotal role to play on the issue of longevity. If the bonding agent is situated at a place that is regularly used for chewing or biting, then it will last only for a short time. But if it is located at the front teeth where there is little chewing involved, the bonding agent might last for an extended duration.

Also, note that even if your bonding gets to ten years, it doesn’t mean it should be removed, and the process started from scratch.  A few retouches can be done on the bonds without necessarily eliminating anything.

How to Care for Bonded Teeth

There is no shortcut or trick to caring for your teeth. The same case with bonding agents. After bonding, what you need is to observe oral hygiene by brushing and rinsing your teeth after meals twice a day. Again, you should maintain regular visits to your dentist for cleaning and evaluation. Ensure you visit your dentist every six months. That way, minor problems will be discovered as soon as possible and treated before they get out of hand. Furthermore, it is critical to remember that the bonding agents are not as strong, which is why it is advisable to avoid habits that could damage the bonded tooth. Also, maintain a nutritious diet.

Is Bonding Reversible?

If you are concerned about the reversibility of this procedure, then you need to worry not. Because the dentist doesn’t get rid of the enamel, even after a tooth is bonded and after some time you feel like you need to change its appearance using another procedure, you can quickly reverse the process. Therefore, if you are considering a temporary cosmetic solution for your dental issues, dental bonding is your answer because you can change it whenever need be. It’s also good to note that although the process is reversible, most people who undergo it are satisfied with the outcome and don’t seek other treatment options.

Bonding Vs. Veneers

Veneers are thin, custom-made shells that act as cabinets to cover the front tooth of your teeth and hide spaces between teeth that have been chipped, poorly shaped, or permanently stained. Veneers are made of porcelain or plastic. Porcelain is durable than bonding materials and highly resistant to stains, which makes it a favorable option for many. On the issue of longevity, veneers last for as much as 20 years or other times, even twenty-five years.

When it comes to treatment, veneers require that you visit the dentist three times. The process is less invasive and requires the veneers to be designed and manufactured in the laboratory. Due to this, the procedure becomes costlier than crowns and bonding. On the first visit to the dentist, he or she makes an impression of your teeth. In the second appointment, the enamel or natural teeth is reduced or trimmed to create room for the veneer. The third visit is when the veneer is attached to the enamel using an adhesive agent. This is different from bonding, which requires only a single appointment to be completed.

Also, it is critical to understand that veneers cannot be used to fix a single tooth or minor issues. Instead, they are used to cover the front teeth to give you a beautiful smile. Whereas bonding focuses on fixing minor dental conditions and is affordable, veneers are expensive and are used to handle more sophisticated issues that involve improving your smile and aesthetic appearance of your mouth. 

Dental Bonding Vs. Crowns

While bonding is used to restore the aesthetics of your teeth, crowns help in both improving appearance and preserve the functionality of damaged teeth. Crowns are a therapeutic tool used to protect the chipped or cracked tooth and restore structure functionality after the decay of a tooth or when replacing a preexisting crown or cap. Unlike bonding, which requires little or no preparations before the procedure, crowns involve a lot of prepping. First, during the initial consultation, the dentist takes impressions and discusses the treatment plan. He or she also considers the type of anesthesia or sedative to be used, which is different from bonding where no anesthesia is required unless you have a tooth cavity.

If your crowns are to be fabricated in a dental lab, it means you cannot have the crowns fitted the same day like in bonding. You have to wear temporary crowns as the permanent ones are being fabricated. But if the dentist uses CAD technology, the crown can be made in the office, and the treatment completed in the same appointment.

When it comes to the issue of crown candidacy, it is vital to note that not everyone is eligible for the procedure. You qualify after your dentist has evaluated your teeth. If the root of the teeth where the crown is to be fitted is dead, then a crown cannot be installed. The tooth must be extracted then a dental implant or bridge fitted. After that, a crown is then used to cover the implant. In bonding, things are different because very few people are disqualified from the procedure.

Also, crowns are made of porcelain, gold, or ceramic, while bonding agents are made of plastic material or resin. Bonding focuses on minor issues like filling holes, hence only removes tiny parts of your natural teeth. After the procedure, you are allowed to brush your teeth regularly, but with crowns, they cover the whole tooth, so there is a risk that the tooth might continue decaying and become weak utterly such that you become dependent on caps.  

Bonding doesn’t deal with catastrophic tooth damage, unlike crowns that are used to repair teeth that have suffered extreme damage from decay or cracks. Crowns are also used to protect the whole tooth from further damage, but bonding only covers exposed roots, which means the tooth can be easily damaged because it is not entirely covered.

When it comes to costs, crowns can cost between dollars one thousand dollars to three thousand five hundred. Dental crowns are easy to price because, in every procedure, adhesive bonding is required. But in bonding, adhesive bonding cost depends on the kind of restorative procedure that you are undertaking.

A direct composite bonding cost ranges between dollars three hundred and fifty ($350) to dollars six hundred ($600) per tooth. An indirect composite bonding like veneers, on the other hand, will cost between $700 to $1,500 per tooth. If you compare these prices, bonding is the least expensive, but on the issue of longevity, crowns have a longer lifespan. They can last from ten to fifteen years.

Many health insurance firms do not cover cosmetic dentistry. It means that when paying for dental bonding, you might be forced to spend out of pocket, unlike crowns that are covered by some insurers. However, before you pay for the treatment, call your insurer and find out if they include bonding procedures on their insurance plan.

Find the Best Dentist Near Me

With the challenging economic times, it is easy to avoid some cosmetic dentistry procedures because of the cost. However, with tooth bonding, even with a small budget, you can still manage to get a perfect smile. Contact Washington Dental today if you live around Los Angeles, Carson, Torrance & Lomita, CA, for a bonding consultation. Our dentists are willing to evaluate your teeth and give you a gorgeous and natural smile in the quickest, most effective, and most affordable way.