If you’re looking to improve the look of your smile or damaged your tooth (or teeth), dental bonding might be a great fit for your needs. What problems can this technique fix? How long does composite tooth bonding last? We’re here to walk you through dental bonding, an attractive alternative, and how to make your bonded teeth last as long as possible.
How Long Does Tooth Bonding Last?
Bonding is a process wherein your dental professional adds volume to your teeth to alter or supplement their shape, size, or appearance. They'll use a putty-like resin that bonds to your teeth before hardening, which is where the technique gets its name. Because the material is typically tooth-colored, it will either match or improve the look of your teeth.
Before applying the bonding material, your dental professional may (or may not!) numb the affected area to ensure that you’re comfortable throughout the procedure. They will then smooth the tooth using a drill and apply a conditioning liquid to ensure the bonding agent has a proper surface to adhere to. After applying the resin, they’ll solidify the bond by shining a special light on the tooth. Finally, they’ll shape it to ensure it matches your teeth and bite.
You may benefit from tooth bonding if you:
- Want to improve the cosmetic appearance of your smile
- Chipped or fractured a tooth (or teeth) from injury, damage, or decay
- Grind your teeth (also known as bruxism)
- Are unhappy with the shape of your teeth or gaps between them
- Have an exposed tooth root that needs to be covered
Whether or not your insurance will help cover this procedure may depend on whether it’s only for cosmetic purposes. While many people choose bonding to alter their appearance, there are oral health conditions for which your dental professional may recommend bonding.
One popular alternative to dental bonding is veneers, artificial teeth made of porcelain or composite material that is bonded on top of part of your natural tooth. Veneers are similar to crowns but require the removal of less of your natural tooth material for bonding.
Veneers help remedy many of the same problems addressed by dental bonding, like improving your appearance and repairing damage to your teeth. While veneers can offer an attractive smile, remember that only your dental professional can make the final determination about whether they’re a good fit for your individual needs.
Helpful tip: Cost is an important factor for some when considering veneers, as they can cost between $925 to $2500 per tooth, according to the American Dental Association.
Your bonding's lifespan will depend largely on maintaining your oral health and avoiding damaging the bonded teeth. Bonding materials typically last between three and 10 years, according to the Cleveland Clinic. After this timeframe, your dental professional will need to take steps to either replace or maintain the affected areas.
You don’t need to take special steps to maintain your bonded teeth, but you should pay special attention to your oral health and dental hygiene to ensure their longevity.
Steps to properly care for your teeth with dental bonding may include:
- Avoid chewing on ice and non-food items (such as pens, pencils, and fingernails).
- Clean between your teeth once a day using floss, a flossing device, or an interdental brush.
- When brushing your teeth, do so gently for two minutes twice a day. Use a soft-bristled brush and a non-abrasive toothpaste that contains fluoride.
- Consume a healthy diet that’s low in overly sugary and acidic foods and beverages.
- Quit smoking and tobacco products.
- Avoid tooth-staining foods and beverages to prevent discoloring bonding material.
- If you grind your teeth, take steps to stop the habit or wear a guard.
- Visit your dental professional regularly.
If you’re considering different procedures to alter your appearance or fix a damaged tooth, dental bonding can be an attractive choice. Remember that your dental professional can offer specialized insight into your options tailored to your individual needs. You’re now prepared for that conversation with an understanding of the procedure, how long bonded teeth last, and how to practice proper oral hygiene.
This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.