People break their teeth all the time. They bite into an olive with a pit, or a carrot, or an almond, or a kernel of un-popped popcorn. And they come in with a broken tooth. Bonding is a good solution for a fractured tooth that isn’t broken badly and that doesn’t need root canal.
Photo of the bonding process
- Quick process–One of the advantages of bonding is that it can be done quickly (I can do as many as eight teeth in one visit)
- Affordable—Another plus is that the cost of bonding is about one-third that of veneers (see porcelain veneers).
- The first step—If more than one or two teeth are involved, we begin the bonding process by taking upper and lower impressions. At the next visit, I remove some enamel, and do any cosmetic contouring of the tooth (e.g., a crooked or recessed tooth) to prepare it properly. Then, I place the composite over the prepared tooth.
- Changing the shape of a tooth—Bonding material can be shaped to make a tooth appear longer or shorter, wider, or narrower. A bonded tooth can easily fill in unsightly gaps.
- Matching colors—There are at least two dozen colors that I can use when I prepare the composite. The goal is to blend the color so it matches the adjacent teeth. I can mold the composite to the optimal shape, since the material doesn’t harden until a blue-wave bonding light is turned on.
- Staining and chipping—One disadvantage of bonding is that the composite material will stain over time. It’s also more likely to chip than is a veneer. The good news is that a bonded tooth can easily be repaired. Most bonded teeth can last from three to as many as 15 years.
To reduce the risk of fracture, I advise each patient to avoid chewing on sucking candies, eating raw almonds, biting into raw carrots, or eating spareribs and risking accidentally biting into the bone.