Cosmetic dental procedures do not have to take a long time or cost more than the budget will allow.. Dental bonding, for example, can fix a number of issues without anesthetic and with less than an hour in the dentist’s chair. It also costs less than veneers or crowns.
Dental bonding involves applying a tooth-colored composite resin to a tooth to conceal imperfections like chips, cracks, or discoloration. The material and procedure are similar to having a tooth filled, but instead of repairing the interior of the tooth, it fixes problems on the surface.
What Can Dental Bonding Fix?
Dental bonding is a quick and easy way for dentists to repair minor flaws on a tooth’s surface.
Breaks. Bonding works well to fix cracks or small chips as long as the strength and structure of the tooth are intact. A tooth with extensive damage might need a veneer, crown, or implant instead. Bonding can be used to fix jagged chips on back teeth that might be uncomfortable or make chewing difficult. But since it’s mostly cosmetic, it is rarely used on teeth that aren’t visible.
Gaps. Dental bonding material can be added to teeth to fill in small spaces between them. Larger openings might need to be closed up by moving the teeth with braces or Invisalign.
Reshaping. Teeth may be bonded to change their shape for a straighter smile. For example, the dentist might add composite material to the end of a short tooth to make it even with its neighbors. Another use is with a receding gum line. This can expose some of a tooth’s root. Bonding material can fill in the space between tooth and gum.
Stains. There are some teeth stains that can’t be removed even using the strongest professional whitening methods. With dental bonding, teeth can get a new, bright white surface.
The Bonding Process
The dental bonding process is similar, but not as invasive, as having a cavity filled. There is no drilling involved, so there’s no need for an anesthetic. The dentist prepares the tooth by roughening it, then brushing on a conditioning solution that helps the composite bond to the tooth.
At this stage, the bonding compound is a soft putty-like material. The dentist will have chosen a shade that most closely matches the color of the patient’s teeth. They then apply the resin and mold and sculpt it into the correct shape.
Next, a special laser or blue light is used to speed up the hardening of the composite resin. Once it is set and bonded to the tooth, the dentist applies the finishing touches of smoothing out any rough edges and polishing the “new” tooth.
Comparing Dental Bonding to Alternatives
Veneers and crowns are the most common alternatives to bonding, but there are several instances when bonding is preferable.
Unlike bonding which is applied only to a tooth’s flaw, veneers cover the entire front surface of a tooth. Like bonding, composite resin may be used, but so can porcelain. They can cover up chips and cracks, or provide a more permanent alternative to teeth whitening.
These “false fronts” for teeth are created in a lab from impressions of the patient’s mouth. This takes additional time and dental visits, where bonding takes little or no preparation. Getting veneers also requires the removal of some tooth enamel in order for it to adhere properly, something that isn’t necessary with tooth bonding.
Dental crowns cover teeth completely, so they can cover up flaws too. But they would be overkill for cosmetic imperfections that could easily be fixed with dental bonding. Crowns are more often used on teeth that need a root canal procedure. They are meant to save the tooth, rather than just make it look better.
If a tooth’s imperfections are minimal, and there’s no major damage that would require a full restoration, dental bonding is a practical choice. The procedure itself is easy, painless, and can be completed within an hour. Because there is little preparation necessary, a dentist can use it to fix a chip or crack in an emergency.
The Cost of Dental Bonding
Several factors go into determining the cost of cosmetic dentistry. Prices can vary depending on the dentist and the region where they practice. For reconstructive procedures like veneers and crowns, there will be a difference in cost depending on the materials used.
Unfortunately, insurance typically won’t pay for cosmetic procedures like dental bonding. If the dentist is fixing a chip or crack, there is a better chance of it being covered, as it could be considered a necessary procedure.
Dental bonding has an average cost of $300-$600 per tooth. While that is expensive, it is cheaper than the alternatives. Veneers typically range from $500-$1,100 per tooth, and crowns can be $1,000-$1,500. Dental bonding is worth considering, especially if a patient is hoping to fix more than one tooth.
Are There Drawbacks to Getting Teeth Bonded?
There are few drawbacks to getting dental bonding. There is little inconvenience, no pain, and the cost is reasonable compared to alternatives. There are a few things to consider, however, when making the decision.
Although the composite resin used for bonding is strong, it’s not indestructible. It’s possible for bonding to crack or break off. The chances of this are greater with certain teeth. For example, the bonding material on the biting surface is more likely to chip or wear down than if it is on the front surface of a front tooth.
With normal wear and tear, dental bonding is expected to last about 5 to 10 years. Even though this is less than the 15-year average timeframe for veneers and crowns, the lower price and easier procedure make it a practical and economical choice.
Could Dental Bonding Be For You?
If dental bonding sounds like a good solution to fixing the flaws or blemishes on your teeth, talk to your dentist. They can help you determine if it will work for your situation and discuss the process and their prices.
If you don’t have a dentist, fill out our make an appointment form. We’ll connect you to a qualified dental professional in your area.