In dentistry, bonding falls under the realm of cosmetic dentistry, though it can also be used for restoration purposes. Often it is used to correct many types of tooth appearance issues, including discoloration, darkening, and stains; decay; cracks and chips; gaps; short or uneven teeth; and misshapen teeth. In addition, bonding can be a more attractive alternative to the use of silver-colored, also called amalgam, fillings which are used to take care of cavities. As a more protective measure, bonding is sometimes even used to protect roots that have been exposed due to a receding gum line.
The process of dental bonding, like other cosmetic procedures such as veneers and crowns, involves a material that covers the teeth. With bonding, a composite resin that matches the color of your other teeth is applied to the surface and set, creating a strong bond that looks both beautiful and natural. Compared to other cosmetic procedures, bonding has a lot of advantages. The resin, which is initially the consistency of putty, is molded and shaped in the dental office and applied to your teeth during your appointment. Minimal enamel is lost; just enough is removed to roughen up the surface of your teeth so the composite can bond better. After roughening the surface, a conditioning gel is applied, followed by the resin. An ultraviolet light then hardens the resin in a matter of minutes and the dentist can then refine the shape of the tooth and polish it to a sheen. All in all, the bonding procedure takes one appointment which lasts 30 minutes to an hour per tooth.