Cosmetic bonding is one of the fastest, easiest and most cost-effective ways to correct chipped, damaged or discoloured teeth and give you that smile you've always wanted.
If you are unhappy with your teeth or feel that chipped, damaged or discoloured teeth are ruining your smile and making you feel self-conscious about the way you look, one of the fastest, easiest and most cost-effective ways to correct your smile is to ask your dentist about cosmetic bonding.
In this guide, we will touch on everything you need to know about cosmetic bonding-otherwise known as teeth bonding or composite veneers, its benefits and limitations, and provide some guidance on how much cosmetic bonding treatment costs.
Cosmetic dental bonding is an elective dental procedure that involves applying a composite resin material to a tooth that is discoloured, chipped, cracked, decayed, or otherwise damaged. The goal of bonding is to improve the appearance of your smile and return your teeth to a healthy, white and uniform appearance.
In some cases, cosmetic bonding is a viable alternative to costly dental veneers, which are not only more expensive but a more invasive method of cosmetic smile correction.
One of the main advantages of cosmetic teeth bonding is that the procedure can usually be carried out in just one appointment, allowing you to leave the dentist with a brand-new smile the same day with no pain and little or no damage to your own underlying tooth.
There are a range of different applications for cosmetic bonding, which can help to correct and improve a variety of visible problems with your teeth and smile. Some of the more common applications for cosmetic bonding are:
Cosmetic dental bonding can be performed on just one individual tooth or a few teeth-but it is not usually an appropriate option to correct your entire smile. Your dentist will be able to talk you through the options and alternatives to help you to decide if cosmetic tooth bonding is the right choice for you.
Dental veneers are the most commonly offered alternative to cosmetic teeth bonding, as there is some crossover in the applications of both types of smile correction. However, there are several core differences between dental veneers and cosmetic bonding, and each has their respective pros and cons.
If you are trying to choose between cosmetic bonding vs. veneers, it is wise to understand the differences between the two procedures, and the benefits and limitations of each.
Dental veneers are thin porcelain shells that are crafted in laboratory or even in-surgery specifically to fit your own teeth and mouth, to produce a dramatic, permanent cosmetic solution to many of the same problems that cosmetic bonding is used for. They are virtually indistinguishable from your natural teeth, and are highly stain resistant, making them easy to care for and unlikely to discolour over time. They can also be used to improve all of the visible teeth, for a full smile makeover.
However, veneers are also very costly compared to cosmetic bonding, and once you have committed to veneer teeth, you cannot have them removed later on in life to return your teeth to their previous condition. Additionally, because veneer teeth have to be made to order, there may be a gap between your initial appointment to prepare the teeth, and your later fitting appointment in which you may be subjected to wearing temporary veneers for up to 2 weeks. With the evolution in scanning as opposed to impression taking techniques these times has been reduced substantially but usually remain at least a 2 step process.
Cosmetic bonding, on the other hand, is much faster and less costly, and the procedure can usually be performed from start to finish in just one appointment. That said, the cosmetic bonding material is made of composite resin (know as cosmetic resin bonding) that is less hardwearing than porcelain veneers, and which is more prone to staining and discolouration over time due to the porous nature of the material. Long term maintenance is required such as having the composite bonding buffed/polished to keep up their shine and regular hygiene appointments for stain removal.
Cosmetic bonding is also usually only appropriate to correct minor problems on one individual tooth or a small number of teeth, and not necessarily to produce a dramatic difference across all of the visible teeth.
For a couple of minor issues such as chips or discolouration on one or two teeth, cosmetic bonding is often the best choice-but for a more large-scale solution or more extreme flaws, porcelain dental veneers are usually the better option.
First of all, you will need to arrange a consultation with the dentist of your choice to discuss your concerns and run through the options, and determine if cosmetic bonding is an appropriate solution for your own teeth. If you decide to go ahead, your dentist will work with you to select the correct shade of composite resin, to allow it to match the surrounding teeth as naturally and seamlessly as possible.
Next, your dentist will lightly prepare with an acid etching agent the surface of the tooth or teeth in question to prepare the top layer of enamel, and provide a suitable surface to allow the resin to form a strong bond. Before application, the surface of the tooth will be lightly coated with a special bonding liquid to further improve the adhesion of the cosmetic bonding resin.
In chair, your dentist will apply the composite directly to the tooth surface with precision, and shape, mould and sculpt it on the spot. When your dentist is happy with the shape and finish, a special light will be used to cure the resin so that it hardens and retains its strength and shape.
To finish the procedure off, after the cosmetic bonding resin has set hard, your dentist will trim any excess material and perform the finishing touches, including polishing the bonded surface so that it is smooth and shiny like the rest of your teeth.
From start to finish, the process only takes as little as half an hour to a few hours, depending on how many teeth you are having treated.
Cosmetic teeth bonding procedures are quick and minimally invasive, and should not hurt. Whilst you may find that the procedure itself feels rather strange, you should not suffer from any discomfort, and will not usually require an anaesthetic.
The only exception to this is if your dentist intends to use cosmetic teeth bonding to repair a cavity, in which case the preparation of the tooth and removal of the decayed portion itself may be painful or uncomfortable. If this is likely to be the case, your dentist will offer you a local anaesthetic to ensure that the procedure is pain-free.
Cosmetic bonding is intended to provide a medium to long term resolution of common cosmetic flaws and issues that spoil the appearance of a tooth, but it is rarely considered to be a completely permanent solution.
Cosmetic bonding should remain intact and look good for around 5-10 years, after which point you may need to have the procedure repeated, or consider a more permanent alternative.
However, cosmetic teeth bonding resins are not as hard or strong as natural teeth, and are prone to chipping and cracking through everyday damage. Grinding your teeth, or biting directly into hard foods can all potentially crack or chip the composite material, and so you will need to be very careful to avoid this.
The composite material used for cosmetic teeth bonding come in a wide range of shades to enable your dentist to find the closest possible match to the rest of your teeth. Assuming that a closely matching shade is selected, the cosmetic bonding should blend seamlessly with the other teeth around it, and the transition between the bonding material and the tooth itself should be virtually indistinguishable.
However, because both natural teeth and cosmetic bonding can stain and discolour over time, even a tooth that looked excellent immediately after treatment may begin to look distinct from your other teeth over time, due to the difference in the effect of staining on the composite material vs. natural tooth enamel.
Conscientiously caring for teeth that have undergone cosmetic bonding is important to keep them in good condition, and you should brush your teeth thoroughly yet gently at least twice a day, and floss to remove food particles stuck between the teeth. You should also check your teeth over regularly and look out for signs of wear or damage to the cosmetic bonding, or problems and changes where the cosmetic bonding meets the natural tooth surface or gums, which can indicate the onset of tooth decay or gum disease.
It is also a good idea to ensure that you schedule regular six-monthly check-ups with your dentist, and have your teeth cleaned and maintained as appropriate by a dental hygienist.
It is very important to take good care of teeth that have undergone cosmetic bonding, to avoid chipping or damaging them. Grinding your teeth (also know as Bruxism) or otherwise causing excessive or uneven wear and tear can quickly damage cosmetic bonding, and so if you are apt to grind your teeth in your sleep, you may need to use a mouth guard to protect your bonded teeth.
Additionally, you should steer clear of hard, brittle and crunchy foods like apples and crusty bread that can chip or damage your cosmetic bonding. Food and drink that stain natural teeth will also stain cosmetic bonding to a degree, so try to cut down on things like tea, coffee and red wine, and brush your teeth regularly to avoid stain build-up.
Smoking will also discolour cosmetic bonding, as well as having a negative impact on your natural teeth-something that smokers should be aware of before committing to the procedure.
During the first week or so after your treatment, you should be vigilant to avoid staining the cosmetic bonding, as the first week is the most vulnerable time for cosmetic teeth bonding to discolour or become stained.
Cosmetic bonding can be performed to disguise badly stained or discoloured teeth that do not respond well to whitening-and cosmetic bonding does not stain and discolour as quickly or as acutely as natural tooth enamel. However, over time, both the natural teeth and your cosmetic bonding may become stained and discoloured, and the cosmetic bonding may stand out from your natural teeth as a result of this.
Just as cosmetic bonding is more resistant to staining than tooth enamel, so too is it harder to whiten or restore once it has become stained, and cosmetic bonding whitening is not as effective as whitening natural teeth. This can limit your options when it comes to whitening or correcting staining of the teeth over the life span of your cosmetic bonding.
If you do have your teeth whitened after you have cosmetic bonding performed, the finish and colour achieved on your bonded teeth will likely be different to some degree, which can make them more obvious.
If you are planning to have your teeth whitened or if you regularly schedule whitening treatments, it is wise to have the whitening treatment first, so that your dentist can match the composite bonding to the colour of you whitened teeth, avoiding contrasts and helping to ensure that future whitening treatments will not make the cosmetic bonding stand out.
Because cosmetic bonding is intended to improve the appearance of your teeth rather than to correct a problem-with the exception of bonding used in place of a filling, where a filling would still be an appropriate and less costly option-cosmetic teeth bonding treatments are not offered under the umbrella of NHS treatment services.
This means that you will have to visit a private dental practice to undergo cosmetic teeth bonding, and pay for the treatment yourself. The cosmetic bonding cost is of course variable depending on the clinic you choose and how many teeth require treatment, so it is worth contacting a range of dental practices to ask for their cosmetic bonding prices before choosing a clinic.
As a broad guide, the cosmetic bonding price per tooth can range from as low as £100 up to £200 or more, depending on the work involved and the charging structure at your clinic of choice.
If you are looking for a fast, reasonably inexpensive solution to fix a cosmetic or minor flaw in one or two teeth such as a small chip or crack, cosmetic bonding may well be the best solution.
Choosing cosmetic bonding can potentially allow you to avoid the need to have a dental crown, or the expense and delay involved in choosing dental veneers. This is one of the reasons why cosmetic teeth bonding is so popular, even amongst patients who do not usually use private dental clinics for their everyday dental care.
However, if you need to treat your whole smile, have more serious dental problems or are not confident in your ability to protect and care for cosmetic bonding to keep it looking good and protect it from damage, dental veneers or other alternatives may be a better choice.
If you are looking for a dentist that specialises in cosmetic bonding in your local area to help you achieve the perfect smile, look no further. Smileo has over 2,000 private dentists in the UK, all performing a range of dental treatments such as bonding, dental implants, dental crowns and dental veneers, white fillings, or laser gum contouring.
Smileo registered practitioners also specialise in teeth straightening treatments including metal braces, ceramic braces, lingual braces, removable braces such as Invisalign as well as a range of other braces and aligners inlcuding 6 Month Smiles, Inman Aligners or Damon braces. To find a dentist near you, simply enter your preferred location in the search bar below and refine your search results to find the dentist and treatment that best suits your needs.
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