Dental bonding is used by cosmetic dentist Dr. Robert Thein for repairs of chips or gaps in front teeth. It requires a true artist to do it well. The dental bonding material is called composite. It is a thick paste with the consistency of modeling clay. A dentist with artistic ability can sculpt it into a shape that mimics the appearance of your tooth.
Dental Bonding Can Beautifully Restore Teeth
The composite is made in various degrees of translucency, luster, and in a variety of shades. On the right is a photograph of composite being applied to a patient’s central incisor. When tooth-bonding composite was first developed, it was made so that two pastes were mixed together and then chemically cured. This made artistic dental work difficult because the material hardened as it was shaped. Later it was made to be light cured. Under ordinary operating light, it hardens very slowly. But once the composite is properly shaped, a very intense curing light used to harden it in a matter of seconds.
On the left is an example dental bonding work. This chip was caused by an accident.
In the “after” photograph, you can see hat the repair blends seamlessly with the tooth. This requires some artistic ability. Notice that the color of the tooth and the repair are not the same throughout. There is a thin very light line at the incisal edge of the tooth. Above that is a more grayish translucent area. As you get further up the tooth, it gradually darkens into a creamy tone.
Notice also that the surface texture of the tooth has been mimicked in the repair. The cosmetic dentist must pay very close attention to the surface texture and the gloss, or the tooth will look like it has been repaired.
Many dentists are uncomfortable doing dental bonding work, because of the artistic ability required. And one of the problems that patients encounter is that their dentist doesn’t stock a complete variety of these materials. But dentists like Dr. Thein, who do a lot of cosmetic dentistry, will stock an extensive inventory of composite with various textures, strengths, translucence, and luster, along with a complete shade selection and special custom tints. This variety allows him perfectly match any tooth.
Other Uses for Dental Bonding
Dental bonding is helpful for small chips, as shown above, and for spotting and other small imperfections in teeth. It is also excellent for closing a small gap between adjacent teeth, called a diastema. To read more about this, please see our Tooth Gap Fix page.
This treatment is generally not recommended for entire smile makeovers. Since those are fairly time-consuming projects, dental bonding can become very expensive when used for smile makeovers. It is better to use porcelain veneers for complete makeovers. Since porcelain veneers are made in a dental laboratory, they don’t require expensive dental-chair time, and they can be delegated to a ceramist. In addition, porcelain is much harder and more stain resistant than composite, so it retains its beauty much longer than composite does.