Tri Le Your dentist may suggest tooth bonding as a cost-effective and quick solution to repair some types of damage or to improve the appearance of your smile. Bonding means that your dentist will apply a composite resin to cover the damage or imperfection and match the shade of your teeth. Typically, you will only need one visit and, in most cases, you won’t even require anesthesia. Dental bonding typically lasts between 5 and 10 years before the dentist will need to touch up existing bonding or replace it with new bonding material. Find out more about things that impact the expected lifespan of dental bonding and if you should consider this procedure to repair your teeth. What Affects the Lifespan of Tooth Bonding? Typically, the lifespan depends upon several factors. These can include: The type of composite material used. Where the dental bonding is applied. How much bonding material is used. The health and strength of the teeth where the dentist has applied bonding may also impact its durability. Habits such as biting nails, grinding teeth, and eating hard or sticky foods. While tooth bonding offers a quick and simple solution to help repair damage and cover stains or cracks, it typically won’t last forever. Dental bonding is added through a combination of composite resin material (top), bonding applicators (left), and a curing light (right). What Could Happen to Tooth Bonding Over Time? Dental bonding doesn’t last forever. Some of the reasons that necessitate replacement or repair include: Bonding applied to your front teeth may eventually stain to a different shade than your natural teeth. If you have bonding applied to the back of your teeth to cover cracks, you won’t care so much about staining, so that could last much longer. Some people have bonding applied to mask and lengthen worn teeth. In this case, the same teeth grinding or bite issues that wore the teeth down may eventually wear down the new bonding material or cause it to break or chip. The composite isn’t as durable as natural teeth. Eating hard food, grinding teeth, or even chewing on fingernails or pens will wear down the resin even faster than these habits might damage natural teeth. How Can You Tell You Should Replace Dental Bonding? Bonding should look and feel a lot like healthy and natural teeth. The best way to tell you need to have yours replaced is to notice differences in the appearance and feeling. For instance, lifted or sharp corners can indicate that it’s time to call your dental office. In addition, changes to the way that your bite feels can indicate that your bonding has become loose. You shouldn’t overlook these signs of worn bonding. Loose resin can chip teeth or leave them vulnerable to other damage. Obviously, stains to the bonding on front teeth will also detract from your appearance. How to Make Tooth Bonding Last as Long as Possible Good dental hygiene practices will help extend the lifespan of your natural teeth and any dental bonding you have. One benefit of dental bonding includes the fact that you care for the resin in much the same way that you care for your natural teeth. When you have this procedure done, the professionals in your dental office should supply you with suggestions to ensure you enjoy the results as long as possible. For instance: You should brush regularly, at least twice a day, but take some care not to brush too vigorously. Use a quality toothbrush and toothpaste, and make certain that you replace your toothbrush about four times a year. Also, be sure to floss regularly and apply the correct flossing techniques. If you’re not sure how to floss right, your dentist or hygienist will help. Of course, you should also include regular dental checkups as a necessary part of your dental hygiene routine. Be careful about chewing on hard candy, fingernails, or other tough substances with the bonded part of your teeth. For at least the first couple of days after your bonding procedure, you should avoid consuming items that may stain. Examples include tea, coffee, and cigarettes. Consider Veneers as a More Permanent Alternative to Dental Bonding Have you ever wondered how TV personalities keep their smiles so dazzling? In many cases, you’re seeing veneers and not natural teeth. Made from either a composite resin or porcelain, veneers cover your teeth in a thin layer. They can also offer you a longer lasting solution for stained or damaged teeth than bonding can. In some cases, veneers can give you a movie star smile in a way that simple bonding cannot achieve. While veneers last longer and may achieve results that mere bonding can’t, they typically cost more and require multiple visits to the dentist. Also, although veneers are extremely durable, particularly the porcelain version, they aren’t guaranteed to last forever. With dental bonding, you can choose to have veneers later; however, once you choose veneers, you will need to stick with them. This is because the process to prepare for veneers requires removing some enamel from your teeth. Learn More About Tooth Bonding and Veneers in the Houston Metro Area The choice between dental bonding or veneers may depend upon the results you hope to achieve, the dental problems you’re having, and of course, your budget. Here at Bunker Hill Dentistry, we can explain cosmetic dentistry options in light of your unique goals and budget. To learn more, call 832-834-5281 or use our handy appointment form to schedule your appointment online. Tri LeA practicing dentist since 1987, Dr. Le has been running successful dental practices in Texas with his wife Ann since 1990. A member of the ADA, AACD and AADSM, Dr. Le has also contributed to several leading dental journals.