Dental bonding is a popular procedure in which a dentist applies a tooth-colored composite resin to a chipped, discolored or fractured tooth to enhance the aesthetics of the tooth. After the resin is molded and sculpted over an adhesive primer, an LED light is used to harden or 'cure' the resin. Bonding white restorations can usually be done in a single visit but deeper stains or the complexity of the case may require more than one visit when a dental ceramist/lab is involved. This process bonds the material to the tooth and improves the overall appearance. Bonding can be used to correct cracks or gaps in teeth, as a filling after a cavity has been removed, or to cover up stains or discolored teeth. Bonding is one of the easiest and least expensive of cosmetic dental procedures. The resin used can be shaped and polished to match the surrounding teeth in cases where the tooth needs to be lengthened or a chip repaired. The disadvantage of bonding is that the resin does not whiten after the fact. Patients would need to whiten their teeth before the procedure and be diligent with the maintenance of whitening in order to continue to match the composite resin used to bond to the tooth. Tea, coffee, red wine, cigarette smoke and other substances can stain the resin. Exposure to substances that stain especially within the first 48 hours would adversely effect the result. Also remember, composite resin used in bonding isn't as strong as the natural tooth which is why it is advised to not chew on ice, fingernails or pens because that can chip the material as well as natural teeth. Bonding can usually last for several years but it depends on the extent of the procedure and the oral habits of the patient.
Bonding is also used to produce tooth colored fillings for patients who do not want exposure to mercury or have esthetically compromised teeth. After the decayed portion is removed from the tooth caused by a 'cavity', a substance must be used to fill the area of the tooth where the decay was removed. A resin or porcelain material may be filled and bonded to the tooth to produce a tooth colored filling. Bonding has been used as a cosmetic alternative to amalgam fillings, otherwise known as silver fillings for decades. 'Silver' fillings have been used for well over 150 years and millions of people around the world have amalgams in their mouths. Dental amalgams consist of a mixture of materials such as tin, copper, a powdered alloy of silver and mercury. Approximately 50% of dental amalgam is elemental mercury by weight. Dr. Timothy C. Adams, DDS, D.ACSDD, LVIM was among some of the first dentists who embraced this technology and trained with respected dental leaders on this procedure in the early stages to deal with some of the challenges the early materials presented. His training enabled him to produce excellent results even when so many dentists had high failure rates. Dr. Adams has not used amalgams since the late1980s because he wanted to reduce mercury exposure to his patients, team and the environment.
Bonding is also used to protect the portion of a tooth's root that has been exposed by receding gums. With the advancements in dental technology, bonding is a safe, affordable, and attractive solution for many dental problems.
Dr. Timothy C. Adams, DDS, D.ACSDD, LVIM welcomes you into his Carmel, IN practice. It is located near Meridian and Keystone making it accessible to all corners of Indianapolis.