If your teeth are chipped, cracked, stained, or have slight spaces, there is a cosmetic procedure called bonding that might be able to improve your appearance and make you feel less self-conscious. Bonding can also be used to make a tooth look longer or to change the shape of your teeth. In some cases it may also be used to protect the root of a tooth that is exposed due to receding gums. While a filling is usually made of a material called amalgam, bonding involves applying a tooth-colored resin material to your original tooth to fill in empty spaces, even out the surface, and change the color. If the tooth is not too damaged, bonding is sometimes preferred to a crown because more of the original tooth can be preserved.
If you are concerned about the appearance of your mouth due to chipped or cracked teeth, locate a cosmetic dentist who performs bonding. The dentist will prepare the tooth surface by cleaning it with an etching solution. This creates an abrasive surface so that the bonding material can adhere firmly to the tooth. The dentist has resins available in various colors and will carefully blend them to match the color of the teeth in your mouth.
After mixing the material to the desired color, the dentist will apply the resin to your tooth, contour it to fit in with the shape of your other teeth, and harden it using a special light. The dentist will then smooth and polish the hardened material to make the finish look natural. Most cosmetic dentists can complete this procedure in one visit. Anesthesia is usually not required unless the original tooth surface has a large degree of decay that needs to be removed.
The results of the bonding process will usually last anywhere from three to ten years before requiring a touch-up or replacement. The exact amount of time depends on the amount of bonding required and how well you maintain your oral health. Bonded teeth require the same flossing and brushing regimen as your original teeth. Regular dental appointments will help insure that the resin maintains its color and that the bonded area is not damaged.
ChooseYourDentist.com is your go-to source for dental information and dental education. If you are thinking about bonding, use our dental profiles to help find a cosmetic dentist or family dentist who can help because ChooseYourDentist.com is "where patients and dentists meet."