Bonding is a special filling that can restore, reshape and rejuvenate your teeth, improving both the function and the appearance of your smile. By applying a thin layer of tooth-colored plastic to the front of the tooth and sculpting it like clay, your dentist may use bonding to correct chipped or cracked teeth, broken or misshapen teeth, stained teeth or spaces between teeth.

What is the bonding material made of?

The bonding material is a composite resin (plastic) that hardens and fuses to the tooth when your dentist shines a special light on it. Once in place, the bonding material is shaped to correct the specific problem at hand, colored to match your natural teeth, and polished until it’s smooth.

What is the bonding process?

In the first step of the bonding process, Dr. Radcliffe applies an etching solution to the tooth or teeth that will be receiving the bonding material; this gently roughens the surface of the tooth for a stronger bond between the tooth and the plastic.

Next, Dr. Radcliffe places a thin layer of the bonding resin on the surface of your tooth and seals it in place using a special light. Several layers of resin may be added and hardened in turn. Each layer takes only a few minutes to harden.

Then, Dr. Radcliffe sculpts the bonding material to the desired shape and colors it to match the shade of your natural teeth. Finally, the bonding material is polished until it is entirely smooth.

The procedure takes one to two hours. The bonding lasts about ten years.

What are the different kinds of bonding available?

There are two main kinds of bonding: small, simple fillings like the ones described above that can be done in a single appointment, and more complex fillings that require at least two appointments and the placement of a temporary filling while the custom-shaped and -colored filling is made in a lab. Although they take longer, custom-made porcelain fillings are more natural-looking, stain-resistant and durable than ordinary bonded fillings.

Will people be able to tell I’ve had bonding done?

Bonded teeth look and function just like your natural teeth. The bonding material can be colored as well as molded, so it is often possible to match the shade of your teeth. When bonding is performed by an experienced dentist, people won’t be able to tell that you’ve had cosmetic work done on your teeth—except for how good your smile will look when the bonding is done!