Bonding is a restorative procedure performed to repair a damaged tooth that is either worn, chipped, decayed or discolored. After removing the damaged area, we “bond” or attach a tooth-colored material called composite resin onto the tooth. Bonding is also an effective way to close a small space or gap between two teeth. The tooth is restored by preparing its surface and then “etching it” to increase its adhesive area. A primer is then applied which decreases sensitivity and increases adhesive potential. Next, the prepared area of the tooth is coated with a bonding liquid, which is set by shining a bright light on the tooth. Once the liquid sets, the previously color-matched composite resin is placed onto your tooth and sculpted to the desired shape. The light is used a second time to harden the composite. After the composite has set, the restoration is sculpted and polished to a high luster. Now the aesthetic imperfections have been corrected and the bonded tooth blends beautifully into the smile.
Bonding can work wonders for discolored teeth not changed by bleaching, to close spaces, or to appear to change tooth position.
COMPOSITES – FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is a composite resin (white filling)?
A composite resin is a tooth-colored plastic mixture filled with glass (silicon dioxide). Introduced in India in the late 1970s, dental composites were confined to the front teeth because they were not strong enough to withstand the pressure and wear generated by the back teeth. Since then, composites have been significantly improved and can be successfully placed in the back teeth as well. Composites are not only used for restoring decay but are also used for cosmetic improvements of the smile by changing the color of the teeth or reshaping disfigured teeth.
How is a composite placed?
Following preparation, the dentist places the composite in layers, using a light specialized to harden each layer. When the process is finished, the dentist will shape the composite to fit the tooth. The dentist then polishes the composite to prevent staining and early wear.
How long does it take to place a composite?
It takes the dentist about 15 minutes longer to place a composite than a silver filling. Placement time depends on the size and location of the cavity. The larger the size, the longer it will take.
What are the advantages of composites?
Aesthetics are the main advantage since dentists can blend shades to create a colour nearly identical to that of the actual tooth. Composites bond to the tooth to support the remaining tooth structure, which helps to prevent breakage and insulate the tooth from excessive temperature changes. Bonding procedures are advantageous because one or more teeth can be corrected during a single appointment and the positive results are immediately apparent.
“Bonded” Composite fillings
What are the disadvantages?
Composite resin restorations have their limitations. After receiving a composite, a patient may experience post-operative sensitivity. Also, the shade of the composite can change slightly if the patient drinks tea, coffee, or other staining foods. The dentist can put a clear plastic coating over the composite to prevent the color from changing if a patient is particularly concerned about tooth color. Composites tend to wear out sooner than silver fillings in larger cavities, although they hold up as well in small cavities. They can chip or break over time if they are abused and bonded surfaces dull and discolor if not kept clean. Proper home care and regular professional cleanings are essential to keep the restored teeth healthy and beautiful.