Composite BondingDental bonding is perhaps the easiest, the most conservative, the least invasive, and the least expensive of all cosmetic dental procedures, and can usually be done in a single office visit, unless several teeth are involved.  On the other hand, treatments like veneers and crowns must be manufactured in a lab, and two dental visits are needed.  Bonding can make an amazing change in your smile in just that one dental visit, and in some instances, you don’t even need to be numbed!

People of all ages can benefit from cosmetic bonding:  Children, adolescents, adults and senior citizens alike can improve their smiles and appearance.  Bonding is simply the application of a tooth-colored composite-resin – a durable material composed of acrylic plastic and porcelain powders — to fix problems like the shape or color of a tooth.  It is used in fillings and in veneer-like resurfacing.

In most cases, composite bonding is a pain-free experience, unless the bonding is being used to fill a decayed tooth, the tooth needs to be drilled to change its shape, or the chip is near the nerve, and then anesthesia can be administered.  Your dentist can choose a shade of resin that closely matches the color of your adjacent teeth, so that the results will look very natural.

Dental bonding is an option that can offer a solution:

  • To repair decayed teeth (used to fill cavities)
  • To repair broken, chipped or cracked teeth
  • To improve the appearance of stained and discolored teeth
  • To close gaps between teeth
  • To improve the appearance of crooked or rotated teeth
  • To disguise minor imperfections in the front teeth
  • To make teeth look longer
  • To change the shape of teeth
  • As a cosmetic alternative to replace amalgam fillings
  • To protect a portion of the tooth’s root that has been exposed when gums recede
  • To repair bridge facings that are worn or broken

Little advance preparation is needed for dental bonding, and with resurfacing for composite veneers, very little, if any, enamel will be removed.  Next, the surface of the tooth will be roughened and a conditioning liquid applied to help the bonding material adhere to the tooth.  A tooth-colored, putty-like composite-resin is then applied, molded, and smoothed to the desired shape, and then hardened with a special curing light, which creates a firm bond between the tooth and the composite.   Once the material has hardened, further trimming and shaping can be done by the dentist, and then it will be polished to match the sheen of the rest of the tooth’s surface.  It only takes about 30 to 60 minutes per tooth to complete.

One of the weaknesses of direct bonding is that it can stain or discolor, although the newer materials are much more stain resistant than older materials of ten or more years ago.   Old bonding may lose its adhesion, and then the edges will begin to collect stains.  Sometimes old bonding, that has discolored just needs to be re-polished and sealed.  It is important that the dentist polishes the resin very well because this makes it easier to clean and more stain resistant.

Composite is not as strong as porcelain, so it is advisable to avoid chewing or biting into hard objects such as ice cubes and hard candy, or biting fingernails or pencils.  While the best long-term solution would be with stronger and longer-lasting porcelain veneers, many patients find the treatment with composite bonding is highly cost-effective, and it can be repeated with no damage at all to your teeth.

While there have been huge advances in the materials used in bonding dentistry in recent years, the longevity of a composite restoration will depend on factors such as the materials used, the expertise of the dentist, and the patient’s care of the restored teeth.  There is an art and a science to bonding that many general dentists are not trained in, so it is important to look for a board accredited cosmetic dentist who has the training and has passed a series of examinations on the art and science of cosmetic dentistry.

If you are interested in composite bonding or teeth bonding in Costa Rica, fill out the “Find a Dentist” form on this page.  One of our patient advocates will reply to your needs.