Tri Le Dental bonding, or composite bonding, is a quick and convenient treatment that is used to change the cosmetic appearance of your smile. The dentist uses a material called resin composite that matches the color of your teeth, in order to fill in gaps, repair chips, and otherwise alter and augment your smile in a procedure that is typically cheaper and less invasive than alternatives such as veneers and crowns. In general, bonding lasts 5 to 10 years. It can be common during this time period for the resin used in bonding to become stained, in the same way our teeth can become discolored over time. Many people naturally turn to dental whitening for brightening up their smile, but can you whiten bonded teeth? How Does Bonding Respond to Whitening? Because dental bonding uses a non-porous resin, the bonded teeth don’t respond to whitening agents in the same manner as your natural tooth enamel does. If you do undergo teeth whitening procedures, or even use over the counter methods, the results will be a mouthful of whiter natural teeth and less white bonded teeth. For teeth that are partially bonded, this will make the bonding appear darker than the non-bonded part of the same tooth. There are alternative routes to overcoming this dilemma however. How to Whiten the Appearance of Bonding? If you have had bonding work done and are considering whitening, there are two methods of matching the bonded teeth to the color of your soon-to-be whitened smile. The first option is to have your composite bonding replaced. This needs to be done after 10 years, regardless of teeth whitening. With this option, your teeth should be whitened before the bonding is replaced, so that the dentist can match your bonding to your other teeth’s new color. The second option is to remove the bonding work and replace it with a veneer. Veneers are thin covers made for the fronts of your teeth. As with new bonding, whitening should be done first so the dentist can match the color of the veneer to the newly whitened teeth. If you have whitened your natural teeth at home and the bonding now appears darker, the same two options, bonding and veneers, are available to match colors. If you are thinking of getting bonding work done for the first time and also want to whiten your teeth, you should again have your teeth whitened before the bonding procedure. This way your smile will be uniformly bright from the get-go. Is it Safe to Whiten Bonded Teeth? Cosmetics aside, using approved teeth whitening products and procedures shouldn’t cause any harm to composite bonding. It is always a good idea to consult your dentist about any new products, but in general anything that has been ADA approved is safe and sound. If you are planning on having bonding done, be sure to avoid any whitening agents for at least 2 weeks before and after the bonding procedure. Best Practices to Keep Bonding and Natural Teeth Matching Colors The best techniques for making sure your natural and bonded teeth stay the same color is, of course, preventative care. These methods will help you maintain and care for your smile, while steering clear of things that can stain and discolor your pearly (and bonded) whites. Things to Do The basic tips we’ve heard all our lives sometimes bear repeating. Brushing twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste is a cornerstone of dental care for a reason. It’s also important to remember to brush your tongue to get rid of the extra bacteria gathered there. Flossing once daily is also vital for gum and tooth health. It’s also very important to have a professional teeth cleaning at least every six months. Your dentist is able to thoroughly clean your teeth and can spot issues you may not be able to on your own. Diet is another important aspect of dental health. Drinking plenty of water, especially after you eat, will help rinse off the leftover acid from foods that can erode your teeth. Incorporating plenty of crunchy vegetables to your meal helps to produce saliva, one of your body’s natural defenses against tooth decay and gum disease. Learn more: Bunker Hill Dentistry’s Caring for Teeth Guide Things to Avoid Tobacco products are a leading cause of dental stains, as are soft drinks, red wine, dark sauces, and caffeinated beverages. Avoiding tea, coffee, and sugary drinks, and things like cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco will give your teeth a longer, healthier, and cleaner shine. Bunker Hill Dentistry Offers Whitening, Bonding & Whole Smile Makeovers Doctor Tri M Le and practice manager and wife Ann Le have been co-running dental practices for over 30 years, and have been serving the Houston area through Bunker Hill Dentistry since 2015. They offer a variety of dental cosmetic treatments to help enhance your smile, from whitening and bonding to full smile makeover treatments. Contact us today to see what Bunker Hill Dentistry can do for you and your smile. 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.