A healthy smile would ideally last a lifetime, but the fact remains teeth sustain damage, wear, and tear as the years go by. Sometimes the damage is serious, other times cosmetic, but it all has the potential to affect your smile, your daily activities, and your quality of life. The good news is, there are a variety of cosmetic dental procedures and prostheses that can help repair the damage and restore at least some of your normal appearance and function. One popular option is composite resin bonding, which replaces some lost or damaged material on an otherwise functional tooth. It’s an affordable and effective means of correcting many common dental problems, so let’s take a deeper look into composite resin bonding and whether it might be the right option for you.

What is composite resin bonding?

Composite resin bonding, also known as dental bonding, is a fairly simple procedure. In essence, a resin, colored to match the natural tooth, is applied to an existing tooth and subsequently hardened with a special light. This material then bonds to the natural tooth. The resin is relatively strong and can be shaped to match an existing tooth that has been damaged in some way.

There are many reasons that your dentist may suggest composite resin bonding, but some of the most common reasons for dental bonding include the following:

  • Repairing tooth decay
  • Repairing chipped or cracked teeth
  • Improving the appearance of discolored teeth
  • Closing gaps or spaces between teeth
  • Reshaping teeth to better fit the overall smile
  • To protect exposed roots when the gums recede

How Does Composite Resin Bonding Work?

While every patient is different, in general, the composite resin bonding procedure follows the same pattern. Your dentist will tell you what to expect, but it tends to go something like this:

  1. In contrast to some other dental procedures, composite resin bonding generally requires relatively little prep time. While the dentist may need to do some reshaping of the damaged tooth in order to best attach and bond the resin, this often requires no anesthesia and results in little discomfort to the patient. During this stage of the process, your dentist will select a material that best matches the color of your natural teeth.
  2. Once the tooth is prepped and reshaped and the patient is ready, the bonding resin is applied. First, the dentist will apply a conditioning liquid to the tooth’s surface to help the resin bond to it. Then the putty-like resin will be applied to the tooth and shaped and molded to match the shape of the existing teeth. When the right shape has been achieved, the dentist will use a bright light or laser to harden the resin and make it bond to the natural tooth. Once hardened, the dentist can do the final shaping and polishing to make it match existing teeth.
  3. After the procedure is complete, the dentist will explain to the patient how best to care for the newly bonded tooth. Generally, the repaired tooth is treated like any other, best cared for by a daily brushing and flossing regime. Properly cared for, composite resin bonding can last for many years.

Is Composite Resin Bonding Right for Me?

While composite resin bonding/dental bonding can do many wonderful things, it’s not always the right choice for every dental problem or for every patient. Overbites and underbites can’t generally be fixed with dental bonding, and complex cracks, gaps, or broken teeth may require a more complex procedure or prosthesis to repair. Composite resin bonding/dental bonding is generally for a cosmetic issue or minor repairs, not an in-depth rebuild or replacement or lost or missing teeth. However, with those limitations in mind, composite resin bonding is an affordable solution to a great many dental problems, and your dentist can tell you whether it’s the right choice for you or whether you need to consider another option.

If you’re in need of composite resin bonding or other dental care, contact BlueWave Dentistry today and we’ll make an appointment for you as soon as possible.