Patients who have teeth that are chipped, cracked, discolored or decayed can benefit from composite resin bonding to restore the beauty of their teeth and smile. Composite resin is a type of plastic that can be applied to the tooth during one visit to the dentist’s office. Besides damaged teeth, composite bonding can be used to fill in the gaps between teeth and to even change the shape or the length of the teeth. If a cavity is not very deep, composite bonding can take the place of a filling. It can protect the root of the tooth if the gums have receded ad exposed it.
How to Prepare for Composite Bonding
A patient does not need to do any special preparation for composite bonding. They do not have to fast overnight or stop taking certain medications some weeks before the procedure. Since anesthesia probably won’t be needed, they won’t require someone to drive them home from the dentist’s office after the treatment. The exception to no anesthesia is if the bonding is used as a filling, if the tooth needs to be drilled for some reason or if the area to be treated is near an exposed nerve. But even here, the anesthesia that numbs the tooth and the laughing gas the patient may need wear off quickly enough for them to go home without assistance.
Applying composite resin takes about a half an hour to an hour per tooth. The patient may need to return more than once if they need more than one tooth treated.
Before the procedure, the dentist consults a shade guide in order to match the color of the composite resin to the patient’s tooth. Then, the tooth or teeth are etched slightly. This roughens their surface to help the resin cling to the tooth more securely. Etching is also done when fitting veneers, but because less of the enamel is removed, the procedure for composite bonding is painless.
The dentist then applies a liquid which helps the resin cling to the tooth, then they apply the resin. It is adjusted until it’s the right shape, then cured with either a laser or a special blue light.
When the resin hardens, the dentist adjusts it further to make sure that it is the right shape and size. Then, the treated tooth is polished until the color of the resin matches he color of the other teeth.
Since the resin stains easily, it’s important that the patient not eat or drink any foods or beverages that stain the teeth for at least the first two days after the treatment. This includes coffee or tea. They also need to keep up their dental hygiene and make sure that they have their teeth checked and cleaned at least once a year.
How Long Does Bonding Last?
Composite bonding can last for about 10 years, and it can last longer if the patient takes care of it and avoids biting or chewing hard objects such as ice cubes, hard candy, the ends of pens or anything else that puts undue stress on the resin. The patient should call their dentist if they feel a sharp edge on the tooth that was treated or if something feels odd when they bite. They should call the dentist right away if the composite resin falls out.
Pros and Cons
Composite resin bonding is considerably less expensive than other types of cosmetic dentistry such as veneers or crowns. It is also easier for the dentist and the patient. Composite bonding can be repaired or replaced when it starts to wear out. The drawbacks are that composite bonding is not as strong as these other types of cosmetic treatments. Because of this, many dentists recommend that it be done on very small areas of the teeth or on the front teeth, which are not subject to the chewing pressures of the molars.
The patient can also opt for more expensive and longer-lasting treatments such as veneers after their experience with composite bonding.
If you live in the New York City area and are interested in composite resin bonding to correct your teeth and restore your smile, give Dr. Lazare and his staff a call to set up a consultation. Dr. Lazare is an expert in tooth bonding techniques in NYC. He’s also the President of Cosmetic Innovations and counts many celebrities as his clients. Dr. Lazare also founded the Teeth Whitening Division at the hospital and holds a DDS degree from the New York University College of Dentistry and a BA from the University of Pennsylvania.