Fixing Gaps Between Your Front Teeth with Dental Bonding
With society increasingly focused on physical appearance, many adults with gaps between their front teeth are left searching for ways to restore a healthy-looking smile. According to dental literature, up to 25 percent of American adults suffer from a diastema, or gap, between two of your teeth. While a diastema can occur anywhere in the mouth, they are generally found in the front two teeth. Fortunately, the condition is something that your dentist may be able to correct using a procedure known as teeth bonding.
The process of teeth bonding involves your dentist using tooth-colored composite resins to fill gaps or spaces between your teeth. After first matching the bonding materials to your tooth color using a shade chart, your dentist will prepare the teeth by gently manually etching the surface and applying a mild acid solution. This makes the surface areas slightly more porous which allows the composite bonding resins to better adhere to the teeth. Once the areas are prepared, your dentist applies the putty-like bonding resin and shapes it for the desired look. Using a high intensity ultraviolet light or laser, the resin is then hardened and cured in place. Your dentist will further shape, polish, or hone the areas as needed to prevent irritation. The procedures are painless, and therefore do not require anesthesia, and can be done in a single visit.
If after an initial consultation with your dentist it is determined that you are a candidate for bonding, there are some important things to keep in mind as your situation, lifestyle, and personal habits can all greatly influence your candidacy for the procedure as well as the results you see.
The first thing to know is that the bonding material is porous which makes it susceptible to staining. Patients who regularly smoke, drink coffee or tea, or consume other items that stain, may notice a yellowing of the bonding materials as a result. Practicing proper oral hygiene can help minimize these effects but if staining is of primary concern, patients may want to discuss the use of porcelain veneers with their dentist as a method for fixing their diastema.
In addition to being porous, the bonding materials are not as strong as our natural teeth. As such, they can be prone to damage depending on lifestyle habits. Patients who bite their fingernails or chew on pencils may chip the bonding materials since these habits utilize the front teeth and potentially create the need for more frequent repair. If properly maintained and harmful habits are avoided, patients can expect bonding results to last several years.
Finally, bonding is a great option for closing gaps in the front teeth but may not be appropriate for all patients. Some patients will find that bonding alone is not an option and therefore need orthodontic treatments. Patients with small gaps between their front teeth are generally candidates for bonding but if you have other dental problems in addition to the gap (i.e. crooked teeth, bite misalignment, etc.), your dentist will likely recommend you consult an orthodontist.
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