In dental bonding, a tooth-colored resin (a durable plastic material) is applied and hardened with a special light, which ultimately "bonds" the material to the tooth to restore or improve a patient’s smile. This procedure can be used to repair decayed teeth (composite resins are used to fill cavities), to repair chipped or cracked teeth, and to improve the appearance of discolored teeth. Dental bonding is also employed to close spaces between teeth, make teeth look longer, change the shape of teeth, and as a cosmetic alternative to amalgam fillings. Having a tooth bonded also protects a portion of the tooth's root that has been exposed where gums have receded.
Dental bonding is among the easiest and least expensive of cosmetic dental procedures. Unlike veneers and crowns which are customized tooth coverings that must be manufactured in a laboratory, bonding usually can be done in one office visit unless several teeth are involved. Another advantage is that very little amount of tooth enamel is removed in dental bonding, and anesthesia is usually not required unless dental bonding is being performed to fill a cavity. Also, bonded teeth do not require special daily care; following good oral hygiene practices such as brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing at least once a day, and seeing your dentist for regular professional check-ups and cleanings will keep your bonded teeth looking great for years to come. The lifespan of bonding materials depends on how much bonding was done and your oral habits. Typically bonding material lasts from 3 years up to about 10 years before needing to be touched up or replaced.