Bonding is a simple, yet effective way to repair and restore slightly discolored, chipped or crooked teeth with a smartly placed tooth colored filling. Bonding is the most cost effective cosmetic treatment for the teeth and can be completed in one-sitting in relatively short time. This cosmetic treatment may not be as strong as veneers, but it can be easily repaired if they do chip.


Figure below shows how dental bonding is used to fill gap between teeth
dental bonding to fill gaps

Figure below shows how dental bonding is used to lengthen teeth
bonding to lengthen teeth so they match

Procedure


dental bonding procedure


Preparation

Anaesthesia is usually not needed (unless a decayed tooth is being filled). A guide will be used to match the color of the resin with that of your teeth.


Cleaning

This is a significant step as a strong bond will not be created unless tartar, plaque and any debris is removed and unless the surface of the tooth is clean.


Drilling and trimming

This is perhaps the most varied. If tooth gaps need to be closed or minor chips need to be repaired then almost no trimming may be warranted. However, if tooth decay has caused damage that needs to be repaired, then much drilling may be required.


Etching

The bonding process begins. A tooth conditioner, which is usually a gel and contains 30-40% phosphoric acid, is used to etch the exposed surfaces of the tooth. It remains in the area of the tooth where the bonding will be placed for at least 15 seconds before being thoroughly washed away.


Application


The bonding agent, which is a liquid plastic, will be painted or dabbed onto the etched area with an applicator. Air may be blown onto the tooth to create a thin, even layer of the bonding agent, much like people who paint cars ensure that the paint is thin and even.


Curing

It is beyond the bounds of this article to describe and explain the chemistry and physics involved but the bonding agent will harden after a “curing light” has been shone on it for 10 to 20 seconds.

It ought to be emphasized, at this point, that the science of dental bonding is evolving. Sometimers, both etching and bonding (both of which are known as “adhesive systems) will be used. At other times, the “etch then wash” method is not used and the body agent will be applied and cured without the need for the former.

Restoring

Now that the ground work has begun, several layers of the dental composite–which is similar in appearance and quality to putty–are added so that the required bulk and shape is created. Each layer maintains a chemical bond to the bonding agent and/or other layers of the dental composite.


Curing again

Earlier, the bonding agent needed to be cured; now, it will be the dental composite. After the dental composite has been properly positioned, the curing light will be shone on it for 20 to 40 seconds, possibly more.


Adjusting for fit

Ideally, the desired size and shape has been reached. If not, then additional layers (each one no more than 2 millimeters, or about one-thirteenth of an inch) of dental composite will be added. As always, one layer is set and cured before the next layer is applied.

The amount of dental composite is usually more than necessary or wanted. This is to give greater opportunity to perfecting the size and shape. Just as an artisan will use gradually less coarse and more fine grinders to craft exquisite furniture, so to will the dentist use finer and finer discs. grit polishing stones and other implements until a highly smooth surface and polish has been accomplished.

The tooth, in and of itself, may be ideal but it may not work harmoniously with the other teeth. A strip of thin carbon paper will be placed on the patient’s teeth and the patient will be asked to close his/her mouth gently and to slide the teeth against each other (as if he or she is biting or chewing). This will create marks on the carbon paper which will be used to determine the accuracy of all the teeth working well together.


Polishing

Now, it is just a matter of buffing and polishing the new restoration. Afterwards, the tooth is complete. As mentioned above, though, if multiple teeth need this process then additional appointments will be necessary.