Composite bonding is an inexpensive procedure that can improve your smile in as little as one appointment. A putty-like resin containing tiny pieces of glass is used to fill in gaps, reshape teeth, or cover discolorations. Durable and aesthetic, composite bonding is a popular choice, but like any dental procedure, it is not right for everyone.
What Is Composite Bonding?
In composite bonding, your teeth are lightly prepared through a roughening process and liquid coating that helps the resin adhere. The bonding material is then applied, molded, and shaped by hand. An ultraviolet light or laser is used to harden the resin, and then final trimming and shaping are performed. Finally, the material is polished to match the sheen of your existing teeth. In most cases, the entire process is performed in one appointment with no anesthesia. Particularly complex cases could take longer.
Composite Bonding vs. Veneers
Porcelain veneers are thin shells of porcelain that actually slip over your existing teeth. While they are quite durable and stain resistant, they are also more expensive than bonding. Veneers are custom crafted in a dental lab, so you will have impressions taken during one appointment and then return later to have them placed. Veneers also require slightly more healthy tooth structure to be removed, which can weaken the tooth and place it at greater risk for future decay.
Advantages of Composite Bonding
The biggest advantages of composite bonding are the low price and minimal time commitment. The bonding resin is significantly less expensive than the porcelain used in veneers, and the restoration is performed in a single visit. Another advantage is that cracked bonding can often be repaired, while damaged veneers usually need to be replaced. Finally, composite bonding requires only minimal tooth preparation, preserving as much healthy structure as possible.
Disadvantages of Composite Bonding
Composite bonding is an excellent choice for many purposes, but it has certain limitations. A primary limitation is the amount of damage it can cover. While a series of veneers can hide even large gaps, bonding generally looks fake on particularly wide gaps. Teeth that are badly damaged can be difficult to restore with bonding, while veneers will cleanly hide all of the issues.
Composite bonding typically does not last as long as veneers. It generally fails within 15 years, or sooner if you are not very careful. Even biting your nails or chewing on pens could weaken composite bonding. However, if bonding does fail, it is usually quick and inexpensive to repair.
Bonded teeth are less stain resistant than those covered by veneers. It is very important to avoid coffee, tea, and other staining foods and beverages for the first 48 hours. Even after that time, it is best to brush soon after consuming any potential stain producers.
Bonding is generally not as aesthetically perfect as veneers. While our dentists are highly skilled and very careful to achieve a natural match with your existing teeth, the inherent nature of the resin versus porcelain does have an effect on the final aesthetics. If you are committed to perfectly white, straight, even teeth, you might prefer veneers.
Putting It All Together
Whether to choose composite bonding or porcelain veneers is a highly personal decision. Bonding is fast, inexpensive, and frequently the best choice for fixing minor damage or improving overall aesthetics. Veneers are usually the better option for extensive damage, full smile makeovers, and those who are seeking “movie star” teeth.
Of course, every person is different. Before treatment begins, your dentist will sit down with you to discuss your current smile, the issues you would like to correct, your budget, and your goals for treatment. Based on these factors, along with your existing oral health, your dentist will help you choose the solution that is right for you.
At Family Dental Care of Bellevue, we are committed to providing quality dental care to our patients and their families. We are proud to have been voted one of the best dental offices in Washington State. If you are ready to take the first steps toward improving your dental health, we invite you to call 425-643-5778 today to make an appointment for your initial consultation.