January 6, 2024

Composite Bonding – How does it work?

A confident smile can open doors for you in all areas of your life. If you weren’t born with a perfect smile or if your smile has become damaged over the years, modern dentistry can help to put this right.

Composite bonding is a popular cosmetic dental treatment that can transform your smile without invasive procedures. It has been promoted as a popular alternative to more extensive treatments like veneers or orthodontics.

Dentists are using this treatment to fix imperfections affecting single teeth and also using it to completely transform the smile using composite veneers. It is fast, versatile and highly cost-effective for those on a budget.

If you're considering composite bonding, this article aims to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the procedure and its benefits.

What is Composite Bonding

What is Composite Bonding?

Composite bonding, also known as dental bonding, is a cosmetic dental procedure that involves the application of a tooth-coloured resin material to the teeth.

This resin is carefully moulded and sculpted to enhance the appearance of the teeth, correcting imperfections and creating a more aesthetically pleasing smile.

Once the right shape has been achieved, the resin is then hardened with UV light and polished to perfection. While it doesn’t have the same translucent properties of other restoration materials like porcelain or ceramic, it does look remarkably natural.

Since the dentist can choose the colour of the resin, they can either match it to the colour of the natural teeth, or they can choose a whiter shade for a whitening effect. This is popular with composite veneers.

How Does it Work

How Does it Work?

The journey begins with a consultation with your dentist. During this initial appointment, your dentist will examine your teeth, discuss your expectations, and determine if composite bonding is the right solution for you.

Composite bonding is suitable for fixing a wide range of aesthetic issues, including:

  • Chips

  • Cracks

  • Small gaps

  • Rotations

  • Discolouration

  • Thinning enamel

  • Uneven edges

Advances in this treatment mean that it could now be considered a replacement for treatments like crowns, veneers, inlays, onlays, orthodontics and teeth whitening.

The composite bonding procedure

The composite bonding procedure

One of the significant advantages of composite bonding is its ability to blend seamlessly with your natural teeth. Your dentist will carefully select a resin shade that matches the colour of your existing teeth, ensuring a natural and harmonious result.

Preparing the tooth surface

Before applying the composite resin, the surface of the teeth is prepared. This involves roughening the tooth enamel slightly and applying a conditioning liquid. These steps help the bonding material adhere securely to the tooth.

This is far less invasive than treatments like veneers and crowns where more of the tooth surface needs to be removed to make space for the dental restoration. When placing composite resin on the teeth for a restoration, the dentist needs to strike a balance between ensuring there is sufficient coverage to make it sturdy enough without leaving the teeth feeling too bulky.

Applying the resin

Applying the resin

The dentist will apply the tooth-coloured composite resin to the prepared tooth. This resin is a putty-like material that can be moulded and shaped to correct various imperfections, such as chips, gaps, or discolorations.

Sculpting, shaping and curing

With artistic precision, the dentist sculpts and shapes the resin to achieve the desired look. This step requires skill and expertise to ensure a natural appearance and a comfortable bite. Once the composite resin is perfectly shaped, a special curing light is used to harden and set the material. This makes the bonding material durable and long-lasting.

Finishing touches

After the resin has hardened, the dentist will make any final adjustments and polish the bonded area to achieve a smooth and polished finish. This step enhances the natural look of the teeth and ensures they feel comfortable in your mouth.

What are the benefits of composite bonding

What are the benefits of composite bonding?

  • Non-Invasive: Unlike some cosmetic dental procedures, composite bonding is a non-invasive option. Minimal enamel removal is required, making it a conservative and tooth-friendly choice. When the composite bonding has worn down, you can either choose to renew the treatment, replace it with veneers, or do nothing.

  • Quick and Painless: Composite bonding is typically completed in one visit, and the process is generally painless. Anaesthesia is rarely necessary unless the procedure involves treating decayed teeth. This makes it an ideal choice for patients with a dental phobia.

  • Natural Appearance: The tooth-coloured composite resin blends seamlessly with your natural teeth, providing a beautiful and natural-looking result.

  • Versatility: Composite bonding can address various cosmetic issues, including chipped teeth, gaps, discolorations, and misshapen teeth. It is a versatile solution for enhancing your smile.

  • Cost Effective: This treatment is typically much cheaper than alternative treatments such as veneers or orthodontics.

What are the downsides of composite bonding

What are the downsides of composite bonding?

While there are many benefits to composite bonding, it’s not without its disadvantages. Here are just some of the reasons you might consider alternative treatments.

  • Not as subtle as other materials. Once cured, the composite resin might be tooth-coloured, but it doesn’t have the translucent quality of materials like porcelain or ceramic. It tends to look slightly opaque, so it might be visible as a restoration.

  • Doesn’t last as long. You can expect your composite bonding restoration to last for around 5-7 years. How you care for your teeth will have a huge impact on the lifespan of the restoration. If you want a long-lasting restoration, veneers might be a better choice.

  • Prone to staining: Certain habits can lead to stains building up on your composite bonding restoration. Tea, coffee, wine and smoking can all lead to staining which can only be removed by a professional.

  • Not suitable for bruxism. If you grind your teeth at night or during the day, you might not be a suitable candidate for this type of restoration. The material is not strong enough to withstand constant pressure of this nature and you will risk chips and cracks in the composite resin.

How do you care for composite bonded teeth

How do you care for composite bonded teeth?

Aftercare is essential if you want to keep your smile looking beautiful. Proper care can also help to prolong the lifespan of your restoration and avoid the need for repairs and touch ups.

As with all cosmetic dental procedures, healthy teeth will be happy teeth. Brushing and flossing twice a day will help to protect your teeth from plaque and tartar build up which provides a breeding ground for bacteria.

Regular brushing will also reduce the risk of stains building up, but remember that composite bonding is more prone to staining than porcelain or ceramic restorations. With this in mind, you should commit to visiting the dental hygienist at least once a year, ideally twice a year.

Visiting the dentist and dental hygienist at least once a year will put you on the right track for optimum oral health. It will enable you to keep on top of minor problems before they become much bigger problems. It’s also an ideal opportunity to ask questions about how you can properly care for your teeth.

If you play any sports or take care in activities that could lead to injuries to the face, it’s a good idea to wear a gum shield. This will help to reduce the risk of knocks or bumps that could lead to chips or weaken the material.

Wearing a mouthguard at night can also help to protect your teeth, particularly if you occasionally grind your teeth at night. During times of stress, it’s not uncommon to grind your teeth without knowing about it. If you wake up with a jaw ache, this could be a sign that you are grinding your teeth.

How long does composite bonding last

How long does composite bonding last?

You can expect this restoration to reliably last for at least 5 years if you follow the aftercare advice and instructions. In some cases, it could last up to 7 years before you need to think about repairs or a replacement.

When your composite bonding wears down, you might want to consider repeating the treatment, or you could choose a more permanent restoration like veneers. While veneers might be more expensive, they do last a lot longer and are more durable and stain-resistant.

While it is possible to reverse the treatment and remove the composite resin from your teeth, there is the risk that some of the natural enamel could be removed at the same time. This would leave your teeth exposed to decay and may also leave them feeling more sensitive.

This is why you will need to think about the long-term plan for your teeth, as you will either need to repeat the composite bonding or replace it with another treatment like crowns or veneers.

Conclusion

Composite bonding is a modern and effective cosmetic dental procedure that can transform your smile in a single visit. If you're looking for a non-invasive, quick, and aesthetically pleasing solution to improve the appearance of your teeth, composite bonding may be the right choice for you. Consult with your dentist to discuss your options and achieve the smile you've always dreamed of.

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