What is bonding?
Bonding uses composite resin to restore chipped or broken teeth, fill in gaps, fix cavities and reshape or recolor your smile. The same material used for bonding is used for making tooth colored fillings, which appear more natural. Your dentist applies the resin and sculpts colors and shapes it to provide a pleasing result. A special light, operating at a specific wavelength, hardens the material, which is then adjusted and polished. Bonding differs from veneers in that bonding can be done within a single visit, while veneers require a dental lab to manufacture the restoration. Additionally, bonded restorations are much less expensive then veneering, since there are no lab costs involved. Bonded restorations are usually very conservative when it comes to reducing tooth structure, and can also be used to protect over exposed root surfaces in order to reduce tooth sensitivity.
How long does tooth bonding last?
The answer depends on what the bonding was used for, where in the mouth was it placed, and how well it is cared for. If you place bonding on the biting edge of your front tooth, and like to chew on pen caps or bite your nails, then that bonding is not going to last long. Bonding will usually last for several years or more before needing to repair it, however, in some areas it can last for many more years with the proper care. Acid reflux and over imbibing in alcohol can weaken the bonded restorations. Teeth grinding can wear down these bonded restorations, but severe teeth grinding will also wear down your own enamel, along with silver fillings and porcelain restorations. With the proper care, bonding is a wonderful way to restore and improve your smile.
Why do teeth get discolored?
There are many factors that can affect the color and appearance of your teeth. There are some people who are just born with teeth that are naturally more yellow than others. For example, many blonds and redheads have teeth that tend to be a little bit more on the yellow side due to their genetic makeup. Teeth will also become more yellow and grey with age. This occurs because over many years the enamel (the hard, white outer layer of a tooth) starts to wear down, becoming more transparent, and allowing the yellow color of the underlying layer of tooth structure (dentin) to show through. Additionally, there are many other ways that teeth can discolor or stain over time. These can be broken down into two categories: Extrinsic and Intrinsic staining.
- Extrinsic stains teeth are the stains that appear on the surface of the teeth as a result of years of consuming coffee, tea, red wine, colas, teriyaki sauce, fruit punch, vegetable juice, highly pigmented foods, and of course, tobacco use. The accumulation of tartar (from the plaque that hardened) will also cause teeth to appear discolored. Superficial extrinsic stains can be readily removed from brushing, flossing and dental cleanings. Deeper stain will need to be bleached out.
- Intrinsic stains come from when the actual tooth itself discolors. If someone was given the antibiotic tetracycline during the time when their teeth were forming, chances are they would develop a dark yellowish, brownish banding around the teeth. Excessive ingestion of fluoride can result in fluorosis, which is evident from the white spots that develop on the teeth. Additionally, tooth trauma can result in a color change to the tooth, due to the nerve becoming damaged.