term bonding is used in dentistry to describe
permanently attaching dental materials to your teeth
using dental adhesives and a high intensity curing
Whether you realize it or not, you've probably received
a dental treatment involving either form of dental
bonding: direct composite bonding or adhesive bonding of
a restoration (crown, bridge, porcelain veneer, inlay/onlay)
that was created in a laboratory or in-office.
Dentists use tooth-colored composites (white or
natural-looking materials) that they have in their
offices to fill cavities, repair chips or cracks, close
gaps between your teeth and build up the worn-down edges
of teeth. Dentists place the materials in or on the
teeth where needed.
Because direct composite bonding involves the precise
placement of restorative material by the dentist, the
direct composite bonding procedure usually is completed
in one dental visit. More complicated or extensive
treatments may require additional visits. However, there
is usually no need for temporaries or waiting days or
weeks for laboratory restorations.
same composite materials also may be directly applied
and sculpted to the surfaces of teeth that show most
prominently when you smile, for minimally invasive smile
makeovers. While dentists call them direct composite
veneers, many people just refer to them generically as
"bonding." Composite bonding usually is an ideal and
less expensive solution for people with chips, gaps
between the teeth, staining and discoloration, slight
crookedness and misshapen teeth.
Although direct composite veneers typically require
minimal preparations, no mold-taking and no temporaries,
the artistic skill and precision of the dentist you
choose will determine the exact manner in which your
direct composite veneers are created. For example, some
dentists use putty stents based on an impression of the
patient's teeth and a model of their desired smile to
guide them when placing the composite. This helps ensure
a satisfactory result.
Adhesive bonding refers to attaching a restoration to a
tooth using an etchant, a bonding agent, an adhesive and
a high intensity curing light. This method is typically
used for esthetic and metal-free crowns, porcelain
veneers, bridges and inlays/onlays.
Understanding the Bonding Process
Whether your treatment plan calls for direct composite
restorations or adhesively bonded restorations, dentists
start the bonding process by using a rubber dam to
isolate the teeth, to prevent interference from
moisture. Depending on the extent of the treatment,
anesthetic injections may be required.
dentist would then apply a gentle phosphoric acid
solution to the surface of the natural tooth, which
won't hurt. Similar to how roughing up a surface with
sandpaper can help paint adhere to it better, acid
etching of the tooth surface strengthens the bond of the
composite and the adhesive. After 15 seconds the
phosphoric acid is removed, and a liquid bonding agent
direct composite restoration:
dentist then will place a putty-like composite resin in
stages on the natural surface of the tooth, then shape
and sculpt it.
intensity curing light will be used to harden that layer
of composite, and the previous step will be repeated,
then cured, until the filling or direct composite veneer
has reached its final shape.
dentist also will create an appropriate finish to ensure
that the bonded resin does not dislodge or cause tooth
not uncommon for a bonded tooth – particularly one that
has been filled or on which a crown or inlay/onlay has
been placed – to feel sensitive after treatment. This
minor sensitivity is often short-lived, but if it
persists, see your dentist.
Composite Bonding Consultation and Treatment Planning
determine if your dental problems can be solved with
direct composite bonding, your dentist first will
conduct a thorough examination and evaluation of your
teeth and gums. During your consultation, your dentist
will discuss the clinical and cosmetic problems that
direct composite bonding can resolve, such as cavities,
chips, cracks, fractures, gaps and spaces between teeth,
and tooth discoloration. However, if you have teeth that
are extensively damaged or your dentist feels other
dental issues may affect the success and longevity of
direct composite bonding treatment, other options may be
presented to you, such as crowns or veneers.
Pre-treatment teeth whitening may be suggested in order
to better match the color of the composite restoration
to your natural teeth. If whitening is needed, your
dentist may wait anywhere from 14 to 21 days before
placing your direct composite restorations to ensure a
proper and durable bond to your natural tooth structure.
instances where direct composite bonding materials will
be used to lengthen or change the shape of your teeth
and alter the appearance of your smile, your dentist may
take impressions of your teeth before treatment to
create a preview model of what your new smile could look
like. If you agree with the proposed changes, your
dentist may then use this model as a guide or template
when placing the direct composite on your teeth.
Composite Bonding After Care
composite bonding restorations can provide you with a
healthy and beautiful smile for many years, but it is
important to follow your dentist's recommendations for
proper oral hygiene, as well as avoid habits that could
damage your restorations.
at least twice a day, floss once a day and schedule
regular visits to your dentist and hygienist for routine
examinations and cleanings.
Refrain from habits such as biting your fingernails and
chewing on pens, ice or other hard objects, since direct
composite bonding materials are prone to chipping. Your
dentist also will suggest you return to the office if
you notice any sharp edges on the bonded tooth or teeth,
or if the tooth feels differently when you bite down.
difficult to estimate the cost of dental bonding,
because the term refers to two procedures commonplace in
dentistry and performed in conjunction with other
example, someone who needs a metal-free crown from a
laboratory will not be charged a separate bonding fee in
order to have the crown adhesively bonded into place.
Whatever the charge is for that procedure is absorbed
into the fee for the crown itself.
Authored By:Allison DiMatteo
Reviewed By:Brian Quesnell, DDS