It's one of the first things people see when they look at us: our smile. A bright, straight, perfect (or near to) smile is the ultimate accessory to make you look your best, and make people notice you. Unfortunately, very few of us are born with perfect teeth. In fact, the majority of people have at least small flaws among them their chompers that make them feel inclined to smile less. Cosmetic tooth bonding is an affordable and quick way to make your smile shine. In just a couple of hours your smile can go from "just okay" to radiant.
What is Bonding?
Tooth bonding is done by cosmetic dentists and is a very routine procedure that requires no anesthesia (except the bonding is being used as a filling on an affected tooth.) It is usually completed within one visit to the dentist's office and is a fairly inexpensive cosmetic treatment for people who need a little smile boost.
Bonding is used to correct small defects in teeth such as: chips, gaps, uneven surfaces, etc. It is not recommended for large flaws or for the often talked about "smile makeover". Porcelain veneers are recommended for more intensive cosmetic work.
The Bonding Process
The process is painless; first a tooth is etched, or roughened, with a chemical compound. Then a bonding agent is applied to the tooth. Finally, the bonding resin is applied, artfully shaped by your cosmetic dentist and then hardened with a special ultraviolet light.
The resin used is somewhat like putty and comes in a variety of colors to match the color of your tooth or teeth. Bonding lasts for about 10 years before it has to be replaced and is much less expensive than crowns or other dental procedures that are used to correct similar problems.
Who Should Use Bonding?
Bonding is often highly recommended by cosmetic and family dentists because it can be used on children as well, to correct uneven colors and edges on teeth, as well as fill small chips that may occur in sports or physical activity. It is also the procedure that takes the least amount of enamel off of the teeth to put into place, which is important for both adults and children.
Disadvantages of Bonding
There are some disadvantages with tooth bonding, however. The resin used in bonding stains easily and sometimes has to be replaced because of discoloration. People who smoke heavily may not be the best candidates for the process. Also, it is not a recommended practice for a complete overhaul as it would be too time consuming and would not last as long as other porcelain veneers, crowns or other options.
Tooth bonding may not be for everyone, but it is a fantastic choice for minor tooth issues and for those of us that can not wait to flash those new and improved, straight, smooth pearly whites.