Tooth Bonding: A Comprehensive Guide To Dental Bonding And Cosmetics

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Stained, missing, or chipped teeth can take a toll on your self-esteem.

Tooth Bonding

You may feel uncomfortable smiling or laughing in public, but there are ways to repair damaged or stained teeth that have held you back.

In this article, we discuss a popular dental restoration procedure called cosmetic dental bonding that can give your confidence and your smile a boost. 

Understanding Tooth Bonding

What Is Tooth Bonding?

Tooth bonding, sometimes called composite bonding is a simple yet popular cosmetic dental procedure that aims to enhance the appearance of your teeth, including changing the shape, size, and color of your natural teeth. 

Bonding uses tooth-colored resin material that is permanently fixed onto your teeth. Since it is a malleable material with a long working time, the dentist can mold it to coat even the narrow and irregular surfaces of the teeth while giving them a natural look.

How Does Bonding Work?

The bonding material, composite is a biocompatible resin that can be color-matched to your existing natural chompers. Composite resin hardens by the process of photo-polymerization. This means that unless a visible blue light is applied to the material, it will not set.

Your dentist applies composite resin to your existing tooth, sculpts it into a desired shape and form, and then cures it using a special light from a suitable light-curing unit (LCU).

Dental bonding procedure offers many benefits as compared to other cosmetic dental treatments. Some of the advantages of investing in bonding are:

  • Minimally invasive: Composite bonding requires minimal to no enamel removal, unlike veneers and crowns that require significant tooth alteration.
  • Affordable: Bonding is one of the least expensive dental cosmetic treatments available, especially compared to other treatments like dental implants.
  • Versatile in function: You can fix just about any dental imperfection with bonding, including but not limited to cracks, chips, uneven gaps, and discoloration.
  • Time-efficient: While other treatments like crowns require multiple appointments to complete, bonding can be done in a single office visit.
  • Superior esthetics: Since this material is color-matched to your tooth, your bonded tooth looks no different than the adjacent teeth.
  • Durable: With proper care and hygiene, bonding can last anywhere from five to 10 years without needing any touchups.
  • Zero downtime: Bonding does not need any recovery period. You are good to go as soon as your appointment is done.
  • Reversible: Since the procedure requires no enamel removal, it can be reversed at any time, if needed.
  • Oral safe: Bonding poses no risk to your oral health if you maintain proper oral and dental hygiene.

Dental Bonding Vs Dental Veneers

Veneers vs Bonding

Porcelain veneers are ultra-thin ceramic shells that are custom-made to fit your teeth. To place them, the dentist must remove some enamel from your natural teeth. They are then adhered to the front surfaces of your front teeth using a special bonding agent.

While both veneers and bonding help enhance the appearance of your teeth, the former is not reversible and requires replacing every 10 to 20 years. 

On the other hand, bonding does not require significant enamel removal and is completely reversible. However, you may need to get it spruced up every 3 to 10 years.

Dental Concerns Addressed By Dental Bonding

Fixing Chipped Or Cracked Teeth: Bonding can help conceal cracks or chips in your teeth. It is a viable option for fixing front teeth but most dentists do not recommend composite bonding for back chipped teeth as it is not strong enough to resist the chewing forces of the molars.

Restoring Decayed Tooth: Dental bonding is used to fill cavities due to tooth decay. While it works well for mildly damaged teeth, it may not be the right choice for severe tooth decay.

Closing Gaps Between Teeth: If you have spacing in between your two incisors (midline diastema) or if your teeth have shifted and formed uneven gaps in between, bonding can also help in filling these spaces between teeth.

Reshaping Teeth For Aesthetic Purposes: Sometimes, teeth can be stained due to a high intake of pigmented foods like coffee or red wine or certain medications like tetracycline. Bonding can be effective at concealing discolored teeth and making teeth look as natural and healthy as possible.

The Tooth Bonding Process

Initial Consultation With A Dentist: At your first appointment at the dental office, your dentist may sit down with you to discuss your cosmetic goals. They’ll also take dental X-rays and examine your teeth and gums to ensure that you’re eligible for the procedure. If you have severe tooth decay, gum disease, or other oral health issues, you’ll need to treat those issues before you proceed with this treatment.

Tooth Preparation: The dentist will use a shade guide to select a composite resin color that matches the color of your teeth. The dentist will roughen the surface of the teeth to help the bonding material stick to your tooth and stay in place without chipping.

Composite Resin Application & Curing: Bonding is the application of resin to the tooth surface to fix your imperfections. A putty-like resin is applied, molded, and smoothened into its desired shape. It is then cured using a special curing light so that it “bonds” to the surface of your tooth.

Composite Resin Application & Curing

Finishing And Polishing: The dentist will use special burs to make the necessary final adjustments to your bonded tooth. He/she then finishes by polishing the edges on a bonded tooth so that it looks natural.

Tips For Maintenance of Bonded Teeth

Before receiving this treatment you should know how long the bonding material lasts. Upon proper care of your oral hygiene, you may be able to preserve your restoration for up to 10 years. 

Immediately after your procedure, it is normal for your tooth to feel odd in your mouth. However, this discomfort should subside within a few days as you get accustomed to having a filling in your mouth.

To take care of your teeth post-procedure, you must:

  • Brush and floss your teeth regularly
  • Get regular dental cleanings, at least twice a year
  • Avoid biting your fingernails or chewing on pens
  • Avoid using your teeth to open bottles or packages
  • Avoid coffee, tea, or red wine as it can stain your restoration
  • Avoid hard or sticky foods

Bonding materials can chip if you bite down on very hard things. When that happens and you break the bonding material, you should call your dentist immediately to schedule a touchup appointment and to ensure that you do not have a broken tooth.


Cosmetic bonding is a procedure that can help repair many minor problems with your teeth. Not everyone is fortunate enough to be born with a flawless smile. If you want to change the way your teeth look, you can get a dental appointment for it.

Cosmetic bonding


How Painful Is The Tooth Bonding Procedure?

Bonding doesn’t typically require anesthesia. Some people may experience slight sensitivity after the bonding process but it usually subsides in a few days. Over-the-counter painkillers like Tylenol or Advil should help with the pain.

How Much Does Tooth Bonding Cost?

The cost depends on the location, extent of the procedure, and the number of teeth. On average, you’re expected to pay around $300 to $600 per tooth. But, check with your dental insurance to see if they cover any costs.

How Long Does The Dental Procedure Take?

Bonding is a quick procedure and only takes about 30 to 60 minutes per tooth to complete.

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