Dental bonding is the process of adding material, usually dental composite, to the dental enamel. Here are four ways that dental bonding can be used to enhance the appearance of your teeth and reduce sensitivity.
Repairing Cracks and Chips
Cracked and chipped teeth most commonly occur as a result of dental trauma. While extreme cases may require the affected tooth to be removed, teeth with minor cracks and chips can usually be saved. Dental bonding is an excellent method for repairing cracked and chipped teeth, as it restores the appearance of the tooth while reducing sensitivity by protecting exposed pulp from bacteria and temperature.
To repair cracked and chipped teeth with dental bonding, your dentist will begin by filling the crack with a conditioning liquid. This liquid makes it easier for dental composite to adhere to the enamel of the tooth. The composite is applied to the crack in putty form so that it can be easily manipulated before it hardens. The dentist will sculpt and scale the composite putty until it is flush with the dental enamel and the damage is completely hidden.
Hiding Gaps Between Teeth
Excess spacing between teeth typically comes in two varieties: extra space between all teeth, or extra space between a small, localized portion of the teeth. Gaps between all of the teeth are often caused by a hormone imbalance that causes the jawbone to grow more quickly than the teeth. Localized gaps can have a variety of causes, such as trauma, thumb sucking, or tongue thrusting.
Dental bonding is a cosmetic solution for both varieties of gaps between teeth. Rather than altering the position of the teeth, the appearance of gaps is minimized by applying a thick layer of dental composite to the teeth adjacent to the gaps. The added material makes your teeth appear larger and reduces the visible space between each tooth.
Professional teeth whitening at your dentist's office is usually the best method for restoring discolored teeth. However, there is one type of discoloration that does not respond well to traditional teeth whitening methods: intrinsic stains. Intrinsic stains are black spots that originate from decayed tooth pulp. Your dental enamel is somewhat transparent, which allows the decayed pulp to show through. Because teeth whitening only cleans the dental enamel, it will have no effect on discoloration below the enamel.
Unlike enamel, dental composite is opaque. Applying a thin layer of composite to the enamel over the spot where the intrinsic stain appears will give the stained tooth the appearance of being perfectly white. However, it is important to remember that this is only a cosmetic repair. Decayed pulp can be a sign of significant infection that can threaten loss of the tooth. If you see your dentist for an intrinsic stain, he will likely assess the tooth to determine if root canal therapy is necessary to remove necrotic tissue inside the tooth.
Protecting Exposed Roots
Gum recession is a process in which the gums around the base of the teeth wear away and the roots of the teeth are exposed. Genetics, dental trauma, and other factors contribute to the likelihood and rate at which gum recession occurs. The roots of your teeth contain dense bundles of nerve endings, and root exposure caused by gum recession usually leads to painful sensitivity to temperature and a greater risk of bacterial infection in the dental sockets.
Dental bonding can be used to substitute the tissue that has been lost due to gum recession. Your dentist can cover the roots of your teeth by applying dental composite around the bases of your teeth. This insulates the roots from hot and cold foods and helps to prevent bacteria from infiltrating the dental sockets.
Dental bonding is a versatile procedure that can be used in a wide variety of applications. If you are suffering from sensitive or damaged teeth or you are unsatisfied with the appearance of your teeth, talk to your dentist to determine if dental bonding or another form of dental restoration is the right solution for you.