There are few things more beautiful than a wide friendly smile – except when that smile reveals discolored, cracked or broken teeth. Its brightness sinks like a setting sun along with your confidence, as well as the response from those you are smiling at. The moment is lost and the encounter, whether it is with work colleagues, potential employers or your best friend down the street, is spoilt.
The good news is there is a simple way for your dentist to help you by using a touch of creativity and a ball of tooth-colored resin. This composite will be moulded into a good cover-up, and bonded to your problem tooth or teeth. The result will be a return to the brighter, whiter and happier smile you flaunted before. The process is called tooth or dental bonding and bonding one tooth can take as little as half an hour.
Going under cover
Small cracks, defects and chips are no problem for the putty-like substance that’s used to cover them. Neither is the task of reshaping teeth, covering discolored ones or reducing small gaps. It can also be used for new fillings, as a replacement for old fillings which were made of amalgam, or to cover areas at the base of the tooth which have become exposed and could easily become infected.
For aesthetic improvements, the composite can also be used to lengthen, widen or adjust the shape of a tooth or teeth. And in certain instances it can help you delay or avoid having a crown or implant.
What process is involved?
Applying the resin is a quick and relatively simple task. If there’s just one problem tooth, it should take only one visit to the dentist to emerge with a whole new smile. If more than one tooth is involved, the process may require more visits.
Your dentist will roughen the affected tooth, and apply a liquid intended to help the resin composite adhere to it. A lump of the resin putty, in a color matching your current teeth, is then bonded onto the tooth and the dentist will then sculpt and shape it while it is still pliable. When the shape is right, it is allowed to dry before being hardened with the help of a high-intensity light such as ultraviolet or a laser. The last step involves smoothing and polishing it.
This simple procedure has amazing results – suddenly an ugly tooth will seem like new and it’s unlikely you will do anything else but smile for a while.
Caring for bonded teeth
Bonded teeth require some care if you want to keep that beautiful smile, and this is particularly important during the first few days after it is attached to your tooth (or teeth). Because the material is not porous, staining can occur, so extra attention needs to be given to good oral hygiene and being sure to rinse and clean your teeth after drinking, coffee, tea, wine or other beverages that have a tendency to stain. If staining should happen, it’s best to ask your dentist’s help in removing it. And remember to schedule regular professional cleaning sessions twice a year. It’ll help your natural teeth as well.
Bad habits like chewing your nails, using your teeth as a tool to open bottles, biting through threads, or chewing items like hard candy and ice cubes are never a good idea, but particularly so if you do this with bonded teeth. Why risk chipping away at what has changed your smile?
From embarrassment to a bright smile in around half an hour? It may seem too good to be true, but your dentist will show you that it’s certainly possible with bonding, provided your smile issues are caused by relatively minor chips, cracks and discoloration. Speak to your dentist today and get ready to greet the world with a smile.