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Reviewed by: Dr. Kristen Dority

Dental bonding is a cosmetic technique in which dentists use composite resin like a sculptor would use clay.

Detailed Description

Bonding can mask a variety of aesthetic tooth problems from chips, cracks and gaps to discoloration. Bonding covers flaws with a thin coating of plastic that is first hardened by a high-intensity light and then polished.

Composite resins that are bonded to the teeth last from five to seven years. Tooth-colored composites bonded to teeth can take the place of silver amalgam fillings and are especially useful in the front teeth where aesthetics are important.

Bonding is an affordable procedure that can be done in the dental office without the assistance of the dental laboratory which crowns and veneers require. Still, dental bonding does not resist stains as well as crowns and veneers do. Similarly, bonding is not as strong as silver amalgam fillings, crowns, and veneers and does not last as long as they do.

Given those limitations, dentists often reserve bonding for minor flaws or correcting temporary problems. Teeth that have been treated with composite resin can be maintained like any other teeth with a program of regular oral hygiene and dental checkups.

Last updated: 10-May-05

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