When a person has dental bonding, his dentist uses a special material to bond to a tooth and correct certain imperfections or problems. The material used in dental bonding is referred to as resin, which is really a plastic material that matches the person's tooth color as closely as possible. Resin is designed to be durable, so it can withstand all that happens inside the mouth.
Dental bonding typically takes about half an hour to a full hour to complete for each tooth, beginning with a dentist matching a resin color with her patient's tooth color. Then she roughens the surface of the affected tooth and applies a liquid conditioner; both of these things make it easier for the bonding material to stick. Next, she applies the resin to the tooth and molds it into a suitable shape. She then uses a laser or ultraviolet light to shine on the resin and harden it onto the tooth's surface. Finally, the dentist smooths the resin and shapes it further, ending by polishing it, so that it matches as closely as possible to the rest of the tooth.
Dental bonding can be used for a variety of tooth care needs. For example, it may be used to repair cavities and chipped teeth. It may also be used to mask teeth that have become discolored or to close unsightly gaps. Sometimes it's used to make a tooth look longer or to change its shape, so that it appears more attractive. Sometimes it is even used to cover the root of a tooth, such as when someone has a case of receding gums.
There are both pros and cons to dental bonding. First, it is considered easy and less expensive than some other treatments. The dentist can handle the entire procedure in her office; there is no need to involve a laboratory for creating tooth coverings, and it can be accomplished in one dental visit in most cases. Additionally, dental bonding usually doesn't involve the use of anesthesia, except for when it is used for repairing cavities. Very little of the tooth enamel is removed with this procedure, which gives it an advantage over options like veneers and crowns.
As far as the cons are concerned, one of the most serious may be the fact that the materials used are not as durable or long lasting as those used with other treatments, such as fillings or crowns. Sometimes dental bonding materials chip, and tooth damage may occur. Additionally, the materials used are less stain resistant than those used in creating crowns. For these reasons, many dentists suggest dental bonding for making smaller changes.