Dental and Tooth Bonding – When Your Teeth Get Chipped or Cracked
Have you ever bitten down into a hard piece of fruit by accident, chewed ice, or hit your tooth hard enough to crack or chip it? Many of us have and the damage is often not severe. However, the chip or crack is enough to upset the esthetic balance of your smile and cause you potential discomfort with the sight of your teeth.
The solution to minorly chipped or cracked teeth is actually very similar to the process to a filling. A composite “filling” made of a sculpting resin is bonded to the tooth to smooth out chips and fill cracks. The color of the filling material can be matched to blend in with your teeth, creating a harmonious appearance and eliminates the visual defect. Tooth bonding is also an economic choice for those who might not be able to afford or want veneers.
How Is Bonding Done?
Bonding is actually one of the lowest impact and easiest cosmetic and restorative dentistry procedures and may even be done the day of your consultation, time permitting. At your consult, Dr. Zadeh will examine your damaged tooth or teeth to make sure the damage is not more severe than it appears. When it is time to place the bonding, if the crack or chip is small only affects the surface of your tooth, your bonding can be placed without numbing the area. As the nerve endings in your teeth are buried far below the surface, superficial corrections do not require anesthetic and you likely won’t feel anything other than the dentist working.
For deep chips or cracks, Dr. Zadeh will numb the area so that you will not feel any pressure, discomfort, or pain. He will then sand or drill into the damaged surface to make a gripping surface for the bonding material. The composite material will be matched to your teeth to fill the gap and set to harden. As the process is simple and does not involve more than the surface of your tooth, you should be able to return to eating and chewing normally as soon as your visit is finished. It will be recommended; however, that you avoid dark foods and drinks for about 36-48 hours to prevent staining your bonding.
Afterwards, you will be able to resume eating your favorite foods and enjoying that cup of coffee with breakfast or your mid-morning snack. Once the bonding is fully set and allowed to acclimate to your mouth, your teeth will be protected from further damage and look completely natural. You may even forget after a time that you had a crack or chip in your tooth at all!
While tooth bonding is common for fixing chips and cracks in teeth, it is also used in other cosmetic dentistry procedures. Any time foreign material is added to a tooth, bonding composites are used to keep the material in place. This means that fillings, bridges, crowns, and veneers all involve dental bonding. In these cases, substances are bonded to the tooth to fill cavities or attach porcelain crowns or veneers to your teeth. The process is safe and painless, and composite materials harden quickly, so there is little to no recovery time.
What Are Some Advantages and Disadvantages of Bonding?
Bonding composite is also great for reshaping teeth that are not seriously misshapen or damaged, especially if they are short or need to be evened out. Patients who are hesitant to receive veneers or find them too expensive for minor defects also feel that bonding fills their desires perfectly. If you have small gaps, chips, or cracks, bonding will help reduce or even eliminate their prominence in a single office visit. As it is also very inexpensive, many patients opt for bonding for their minor esthetic issues over more costly procedures such as crowns and veneers. Combined with simple or at-home whitening, you you can greatly improve the appearance of your smile without surgery or serious alterations to your teeth.
One of the disadvantages of bondings is they may need to be replaced every 5-7 years. Like all resins, they will eventually stain and degrade. As they are also made of a resin composite, they are more fragile than your natural teeth, so care should be taken when eating hard foods and chewing ice should be avoided.
While these are not serious issues, and a good cosmetic dentist can create a great bonding, you will need to keep that in mind if you opt for bonding over other treatments. Otherwise, their cost-effectiveness and general attractiveness make them a great option for minor cosmetic issues.
You can view before-and-after photos of tooth bonding in our photo gallery.