If you have minor cosmetic tooth problems, you may not have even considered correcting them. Small chips or imperfections like a gap between teeth can seem like something you just have to live with, particularly if the tooth is perfectly healthy. But there’s a solution to every cosmetic dental flaw, and these small but aesthetically impactful issues are no exception.

If you’re looking for a quick fix for that chip that’s standing between you and your best smile, dental bonding may be the solution for you.

A professor standing in front of students during a class

How Does Dental Bonding Work?

If you’ve ever had a tooth-colored filling, you’re already familiar with much of the process of dental bonding. Just like those fillings, bonding is done with a durable, custom-colored composite material that starts as a malleable paste.

First, your dentist will use a light acid wash to slightly roughen the surface of your tooth to give the bonding something to stick to. Then, that malleable paste is appiled directly to the tooth, and then carefully shaped. It’s a little like sculpting: The dentist will form the bonding into whatever shape is necessary to correct the cosmetic problem with your tooth. When the shape is right, the dentist will use a curing light to harden the bonding.

Some dental bonds with need multiple layers of composite. Once everything looks as it should, the bonding will be polished so that it blends in with your natural teeth. All told, the entire process usually won’t take more than an hour.

What Can Dental Bonding Do?

Is dental bonding the right solution for you? It’s perfect for a number of common, minor cosmetic smile complaints.

For example, chipped teeth are great candidates for bonding. The bonding material can build up the part of the tooth that has been lost, restoring your tooth to its former glory. Or, if your teeth have always been poorly shaped or short, bonding can build them up into a better-shaped version. Even discolored teeth can be corrected with a little bonding! And if you’re not interested in channeling Madonna, bonding can close a gap between teeth.

What Can’t Dental Bonding Do?

Unfortunately, dental bonding isn’t a perfect solution. Just like any speedy fix, there are also downsides.

For one thing, dental bonding isn’t a permanent fix. Since the composite material isn’t as strong as your real tooth enamel, bonding will wear down over time and will need to be replaced or fixed up eventually. Plus, it’s vulnerable to staining, so may become discolored over time.

If you want a more durable and long-lasting alternative to dental bonding, you may consider investing in porcelain veneers. Although they’re a little more expensive and take two visits to put into place, veneers are strong, attractive, and can last decades if cared for properly.

Interested in dental bonding or porcelain veneers in Columbia, SC? Call (803) 781-9090 or contact us online to make an appointment and learn more about your options from an experienced cosmetic dentist.