The mouth is one of the most important features of a person’s face. Not only does it perform essential functions like speaking and eating, but it also provides a focal point for others. People often look at a person’s mouth when they talk and read expressions provided by the lips. Because good oral health and appearance requires maintenance and regular care, a person’s teeth may be a reflection of their general hygiene. There are many negative assertions in regard to poor dental health, including drug use, the lack of finances to receive good care, and a disregard about one’s own looks. Often times these assertions are untrue, but damage or irregularities to one’s teeth can make a person feel less attractive.
What is Tooth Bonding?
Teeth that are chipped, broken, or have noticeable gaps between them can be treated with tooth bonding. The same material that is used for fillings, with colors emulating the natural shades of teeth, can also be used for cosmetic bonding purposes. Dr. Lazare may first treats the teeth with a gel to prepare the area to receive the resin. He then applies the bonding material where needed, sculpts the new addition to the tooth, and cures it with a special light. After the resin hardens, it can be reshaped and polished to create improved dental aesthetics. After this step, the resin has been chemically bonded to the patient’s own tooth. Dr. Lazare may reshape or buff additional teeth in the area, or make additional cosmetic improvements to enhance uniformity of the teeth.
Tooth bonding is a great conservative alternative to its more involved and costly counterpart, veneers. While bonding can be completed during a single visit, veneers are manufactured in a dental lab and will require production and shipment times and have associated fees. Bonding generally offers restoration with material added to the tooth, or at most conservative reduction, while veneers may require more of the natural tooth to be reduced to accommodate the adhered porcelain or other material. In addition to treating cosmetic concerns, bonding can also decrease tooth sensitivity when root surfaces are exposed. The resin covers the area, offering protection to reduce additional wear and aid in patient comfort.
Tooth Bonding Creates Dramatic Improvements
Compared to other features of the face, the teeth are very small. Often, the tooth bonding resin can offer immediate aesthetic improvement when added in mere millimeters. One of the best corrections offered is the filling in of gaps between teeth, especially the two front incisors. When one tooth is restored, the entire smile receives a makeover. A visibly chipped tooth in any location in the mouth can create asymmetry and impact the look of an entire row of teeth. In other cases, there are multiple teeth in need of repair, which not only creates better oral health by creating uniformity and enhancing these structures, but also enhances the smile. Imperfect features can draw negative attention, leaving a person’s more attractive attributes unnoticed. Through restoration, the focus will be on the positive qualities of a person, including their new smile.
Tooth Bonding to Whiten a Smile
In the same way that veneers whiten a smile, resin bonding can also improve coloration of the teeth. There are a number of reasons why tooth color varies among individuals. Some people, typically those with red or blond hair, are predisposed to off-white to yellow-colored teeth. In light-haired people, this is due to their coloring and corresponding thinner enamel (protective, white outer portion of each tooth), revealing the dentin layer of tooth, which is a yellowish color. As people age, the enamel layer that is naturally present on the teeth wears away, causing the dentin to appear through the transparent teeth. Staining can also impact the shades the teeth appear, which may vary from one tooth to the next. There are two main ways that stains occur: extrinsically and intrinsically.
Extrinsic tooth stains occur due to external factors acting on the teeth. Natural and artificial food dyes from tobacco, coffee, tea, colas, red wine, vegetable juices, and other food and beverages can stain the teeth over time. In the same way dye ingredients color food, these pigments transfer and remain on the superficial layers of the teeth. Another extrinsic form of tooth staining is through the presence of tartar on the teeth. Dental plaque is a biofilm that contains bacteria and can harden on the teeth, creating a hard layer of discoloration (off white to yellow) after being present for just 48 hours. Good oral health, including regular brushing and flossing along with dental cleanings, will help eliminate tarter on the teeth. Extrinsic stains can be treated a number of ways, including professional bleaching treatments and tartar removal.
Intrinsic tooth staining occurs when the tooth itself becomes discolored. This requires a more extensive care plan because rather than impacting only the superficial enamel layer, more components of the tooth are affected. The health of the tooth may even be compromised, and the discoloration is the side effect of a greater issue. Intrinsic stains can occur in the teeth as the result of ingesting the antibiotic tetracycline during an age where tooth formation occurred. This often left individuals with brown-colored banding surrounding the teeth. The opposite coloration effect, where white spots are present on the teeth, can occur when a person ingests excessive amounts of fluoride, resulting in dental fluorosis. Another common way that teeth can be discolored, though in a less uniform pattern as the above instances, is through trauma to one or more tooth. When nerve damage occurs, the blood supply to a tooth is compromised and may result in the need for root canal therapy. Internal bleaching can treat this type of discoloration, while tooth bonding may be better suited for teeth discolored from tetracycline or excessive fluoride consumption.
More Functional and Cosmetic Corrections through Bonding
In addition to repairing decay (cavities), exposed roots, and chipped/cracked, gapped, and discolored teeth, direct composite bonding can treat additional patient concerns. Resin tooth bonding can also elongate the teeth and improve their shape. Some teeth appear too small for the mouth and can negatively impact the overall aesthetics of the face. In other cases, the bonding material may strengthen the structures for long-term improved oral health.
How Long Will the Results from Tooth Bonding Last?
The longevity of the treatment will vary depending on where the bonding was placed, the tooth irregularity it was used to treat, and the patient’s general mouth movements or oral habits. When bonding treats high-impact areas, like the biting edge of a front incisor, the bonding may have to be repaired sooner. Biting on hard objects habitually (nails, pen caps) can chip or wear the newly restored tooth. Typically, tooth bonding will remain in place for several years before needing repair, though it can last longer in more protected areas and with proper care. Some factors that will decrease the treatment’s efficacy include excessive drinking, acid reflux, and teeth grinding. Each of these conditions wears away the material chemically or mechanically and should be treated for both the patient’s health and continued oral health. Severe grinding will not only affect tooth bonding, but will also wear away the natural enamel, silver fillings, and porcelain restorations.
A Customized Tooth Bonding Experience
Because each patient’s smile varies, Dr. Lazare is able to offer individuals a fully tailored tooth bonding treatment. The cosmetic dental specialist will choose a blend of various colors of resin that matches the existing color of the teeth and blends seamlessly in the mouth. If a patient is dissatisfied with their natural tooth coloring, a bleaching treatment should be performed prior to the tooth bonding for better aesthetics.
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The Tooth Bonding Consultation
Dr. Lazare will meet with patients interested in cosmetic and other corrections to perform a thorough assessment of their issues that can be improved through bonding. This may include updated X-rays and a more detailed evaluation of the teeth and gums. He will discuss possible changes that could benefit the patient’s oral health, and he can address aesthetic concerns or, in the case of exposed roots and cracked teeth, the patient’s pain and sensitivity issues. If the ideal solution includes different steps or a different type of correction, such as veneers, these options can be explored. This appointment can prove to be very informative as patients may learn about their bite, the wear of the teeth, and if they grind their teeth. This knowledge helps the dentist and patient to discuss long-term solutions for the best dental health possible.
Limitations of Tooth Bonding
During the consultation appointment with Dr. Lazare, he will explain some limitations to the procedure, along with circumstances where other materials may be more beneficial for the teeth. Where large areas of the teeth require replacement or correction, biomimetic reconstructions using various resin materials and techniques may be indicated, and sometimes porcelain veneers, onlays or crowns may be a better option. While resin is a strong, resilient material composed of plastic and glass, it is less durable than the natural enamel of the teeth, as the teeth are stronger than the bones of the body. It may also wear and stain at a faster rate than porcelain material. Generally, porcelain material is more expensive, as veneers include dental laboratory fees.
FAQs about Tooth Bonding
What dental health and cosmetic issues can tooth bonding treat?
Direct composite bonding can be used to fill cavities, repair cracks in the teeth that may lead to decay and infection, and cover exposed tooth roots to reduce or eliminate tooth sensitivity. Aside from the health benefits this resin material offers, it can also be added to the teeth to enhance their appearance. Tooth bonding can close gaps between the teeth, repair chips, reshape the teeth, create longer teeth, and improve tooth coloration. In some cases, certain repairs may even improve the look of misaligned teeth.
Is it painful to undergo tooth bonding with Dr. Lazare?
Unlike the placement of veneers or crowns where the teeth are ground down to accommodate a permanent fixture, bonding requires a more conservative approach to this process. Very little, if any, of the natural tooth material will be compromised during the placement of the resin. If a patient experiences any discomfort during the process, the doctor can provide adequate numbing of the area.
Where is tooth bonding performed?
This procedure is performed in Dr. Lazare’s New York City office. It is typically considered non-invasive when performed for cosmetic corrections and minimally invasive when treating cavities, cracks, or exposed root. The procedure time will vary, though bonding often requires about 30-60 minutes per tooth.
Do bonded teeth require additional care?
Treated teeth are very low maintenance and do not require additional steps for their care. Patients are instructed to brush and floss regularly and continue to see Dr. Lazare and his New York, NY, practice on a semi-annual basis, or more frequently depending on their care needs. Some teeth are more susceptible to chipped bonding, but if patients refrain from chewing on excessively hard items (like their fingernails) or hard foods, the bonding should remain intact.
About Dr. Lazare
As New York City’s premier general and cosmetic dentist, Dr. Lazare practices in the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Multifaceted in his approach to giving back to his patients and community. He is the author of the book Dr. Lazare’s – The Patient’s Guide to Dentistry. Dr. Lazare has also invented dental devices (including the implement used to position Porcelain Veneers, Inlays and Onlays), and he offers the latest technology in the field of dentistry. He also created a charity that he and his family actively participate in. He has also developed apps that serve as a patient guide to dental care, aptly naming them Dental Expert, Pediatric Dental Expert and Dental Clinic. His modern approach to general and cosmetic dentistry has earned him a loyal patient base. With over twenty years of professional experience, Dr. Lazare has become the go-to dentist in New York City.
Contact Dr. Lazare’s New York, NY, office at 212-861-2599 , or email [email protected] to contact the office.