An accident may occur that causes damage to a tooth, such as a chip or crack. If the damage is severe enough, more advanced procedures may need to be completed. For minor cracks, chips, discoloration and other cosmetic issues, though, a cosmetic procedure may be enough to repair the tooth.
What Is Cosmetic Dentistry?
Cosmetic dentistry is the field of dentistry that involves the repair of the cosmetic appearance of the teeth or gums. This includes a variety of different procedures—some of which being practical as well as cosmetic, and others being simply aesthetic.
What Is Dental Bonding?
Dental bonding is a form of cosmetic dentistry that involves the placement of a dental appliance to restore a minimally damaged tooth. Often times, patients will undergo dental bonding for purely cosmetic reasons, but dental bonding also has oral health benefits.
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Why Dental Bonding?
There are a variety of reasons why a patient may want to undergo a dental bonding procedure. One of the most common, as discussed above, is the cosmetic appearance of the tooth. Dental bonding allows a patient to restore the aesthetic appearance of their tooth—allowing it to blend perfectly with their smile. Dental bonding resin can also be chosen to look very similar to the shade of the natural tooth that is being repaired. This allows the patient to smile without feeling self-conscious about their friends and family members noticing the damage.
Dental bonding also helps to avoid tooth infection by strengthening the tooth. Often times cracks and chips can lead to the formation of bacteria. The repair helps to lessen the chances of bacteria forming, which in turn leads to a lower chance of infection.
The Difference with Dental Bonding
Often times, people are unsure of the difference between dental bonding, dental veneers and dental crowns. This is because these three appliances help to restore teeth in similar ways. One of the main differences is the severity of the repair. For instance, dental bonding or a dental veneer may be used to repair a cracked tooth. If the crack is too severe, though, the only option for repair may be the placement of a dental veneer.
Dental veneers are more durable than bonding materials, and because of this, they are often used when the actual integrity of the tooth is at risk. They are also an excellent option for repairing deeper cracks, more severe chips, discoloration and breaks in teeth.
For teeth that have sustained significant damage to their crown, the placement of a dental crown may be the best option. Dental crowns involve the replacement of the entire crown of a tooth—which provides a higher level of support. The dental crown process involves the reshaping of the tooth to allow for a prosthetic crown to be placed over the remainder of the natural tooth. This process is not taken lightly by dentists, as they want their patients to maintain as much of their natural tooth as possible. Still, it may be the only option left for the repair of a more significantly damaged tooth.
What Is the Dental Bonding Procedure?
The dental bonding procedure is actually quite simple, and can often be completed in as little as one visit. It is also a quick procedure, and often only takes 30-60 minutes.
The procedure begins with a trip to the dentist, in which they decide on what the best course of action for repair is. Once they decide on dental bonding, they will select resin or plastic material that matches the shade of the tooth that is being repaired. From there, they will apply a conditioning liquid. This holds the resin or plastic in place as the dentist prepares the appliance. The putty-like resin or plastic will be molded to the proper shape to match the tooth. From there, a bright laser (usually blue) is used to harden the material. The dentist will then do any final trimming and shaping. Finally, they will polish the appliance.
The actual procedure is generally pain-free. Rarely is anesthesia needed. The procedure also may be covered by dental insurance, making the cost very low. Even if it is not covered by insurance, it is usually more affordable than other replacement options.
There are very few risks involved with the dental bonding procedure. It is important to note, though, that the bonding material isn’t as strong as the natural tooth. Because of this, the patient needs to be careful about what they are eating to reduce the risks of damaging the prosthetic. Dental bonding also is not permanent, and the procedure will need to be repeated in the future. In order to increase the life of the prosthetic and to encourage proper overall oral health, a patient should continue to brush, floss and rinse twice a day. Also, patients should avoid chewing on things like ice, their nails and caps of pens. Finally, a patient should visit their dentist every six months for their regular checkup and cleaning. During the checkup, a dentist can check on the appliance and see if it is in need of any repairs.