Dental bonding is of the simplest cosmetic dental procedures currently available and involves using a durable tooth-colored plastic material called resin to repair or cover damaged, discolored, or misshapen teeth. Furthermore, bonding can be used to make teeth look longer or to close gaps in teeth, as well as to protect an exposed root after gums begin to recede with age. The process usually only requires one visit per tooth and can be finished in under an hour, often not requiring anesthesia unless the resin is being used as an alternative to an amalgam filling. The dentist color-matches a particular shade of resin to the patient’s teeth and prepares the tooth by roughening the surface and applying a conditioning liquid in order to help the resin bond with the tooth enamel. The resin is then applied, shaped, and smoothed by the dentist who subsequently uses an ultraviolet light or laser to harden the material, followed by further adjustments and polishing.
Although resin is not as stain resistant as crowns and veneers and is more prone to chipping than other restorative procedures, it is also usually considerably cheaper and can last up to five to seven years before needing to be touched up. Most dentists recommend resin bonding for teeth which are exposed to less stress from biting and chewing, such as front teeth, and advise their patients not to bite their fingernails, chew ice, or eat hard foods. Patients often inquire about any particular care which bonded teeth require, but nothing out of the ordinary is needed to maintain the procedure. Brushing teeth at least twice a day, flossing regularly, visiting the dentist for routine check-ups, and avoiding undue strain are all which is required to keep bonded teeth healthy for as long as possible.