This photo shows the process of dental bonding.

Dental Bonding

Bonding is the application of a tooth-colored composite resin (plastic) to repair a decayed, chipped, fractured or discolored tooth.

The bonding process starts with creating small crevices in the enamel by applying a mild etching solution to the teeth. The rough surface is ideal to receive the bonding resin which is applied to the tooth. A high-intensity light is used to cure the resin to the tooth surface. Each resin layer hardens in about one minute. Once the appropriate amount of resin has been applied and cured, the bonded resin is sculpted, smoothed, and polished.

Tea, coffee, cigarette smoke and other substances can stain the resin. To prevent or minimize stains, it’s essential to avoid eating or drinking foods that can stain for the first 48 hours after any composite procedure. In addition, brush your teeth often and have them cleaned regularly by a dental hygienist.

The composite resin used in bonding isn’t nearly as strong as a natural tooth. Biting your fingernails or chewing on ice or pens can chip the material. Bonding usually lasts several years before it needs to be repaired. How long it actually lasts depends on how much bonding was done and your oral habits.