Bonding is a term for the process by which restorative dental materials are attached to a tooth. “Bonding” can be used to secure a crown, attach an inlay, onlay, or veneer, or to perform a direct restoration with dental composite. Frequently, the term “bonding” is used to describe a cosmetic procedure to correct front teeth for conditions such as chipping, cracking, discoloration, and misalignment. In many cases, though significantly less durable, this type of bonding can be viewed as an alternative to porcelain veneers or more invasive procedures like crowns. On the plus side though, bonding can be much less costly than veneers. In certain situations, bonding can be accomplished without the need for reduction of the tooth surface.
The tooth is prepared for the procedure by lightly etching the surface and applying a resin adhesive. Once the adhesive is cured, Dr. Hunting will layer and sculpt the appropriate shade or shades of dental composite, and cure the material with a bright light. Once set, the composite is trimmed, smoothed, and polished to a natural appearance.
The bonding procedure can often be completed in a single office visit, and can significantly improve the appearance of a tooth. However, since the composite resin used is not as strong as your natural tooth enamel, it is more likely to stain, chip, or break than natural teeth. Bonding typically lasts three to five years before repair is needed.