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Oral Health Made Simple: Your Prescription For Knowledge
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 CONDITIONS
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 GENERAL TOPICS
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Step 1 Prevent ProblemsSimplestepsPrevent Problems
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Bonding

space placeholder.space placeholder
space placeholder.What Is It?.
space placeholder.What It's Used For.
space placeholder.Preparation.
space placeholder.How It's Done.
space placeholder.Follow-Up.
space placeholder.Risks.
space placeholder.When To Call a Professional.
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space placeholder.What Is It?
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Bonding is a procedure that uses a tooth-colored composite resin (plastic) to repair a tooth. Bonding can be used on teeth that are decayed, chipped, broken or discolored. The procedure is called bonding because the material bonds to the tooth. Unlike veneers, bonding can be done in a single visit. Veneers are another way to repair some teeth. They are made in a laboratory and require a customized mold to achieve a proper fit.

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space placeholder.What It's Used For
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Bonding is one of the easiest and least costly cosmetic dental treatments. The resin used in bonding can be shaped and polished to match the other teeth. Most often, bonding is used to make a discolored or chipped tooth look better. It also can be used to:
  • Close spaces between teeth
  • Make teeth look longer
  • Change the shape or color of teeth

Sometimes, bonding also is used to protect a portion of the tooth's root that has been exposed when gums recede.

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space placeholder.Preparation
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The tooth needs only a small amount of preparation for bonding. Anesthesia often is not necessary.

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space placeholder.How It's Done
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Your dentist will use a shade guide to select a color that will most closely match the color of the tooth. He or she will shape the tooth with a drill (handpiece) if necessary, then etch the surface of the tooth with an acid to roughen it. The tooth will be washed and coated with a conditioning liquid. These steps help the bonding material to stick.

Your dentist will then apply the resin in layers. Each layer will be completely hardened (cured) by an ultraviolet light or laser before the next one is applied. Different colors also can be layered to more closely match your natural tooth shade.

Once the bonding material is hard, your dentist will further trim and shape it. Then he or she will polish it to match the sheen of the rest of the tooth.

The procedure usually takes about 30 minutes to an hour. If you're having more than one tooth done, you may need a longer appointment or several visits.

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space placeholder.Follow-Up
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Tea, coffee, cigarette smoke and other substances can stain the resin used in bonding. Be especially careful to avoid eating or drinking anything that can stain for the first 48 hours after bonding is applied. In addition, brush your teeth often. Have them cleaned regularly by a dental hygienist.

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space placeholder.Risks
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The composite resin used in bonding isn't nearly as strong as a natural tooth. Biting your fingernails or chewing on ice or a pen can chip the material. Bonding usually lasts several years before it needs to be repaired. How long it actually lasts depends on how much bonding was done and your habits.

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space placeholder.When To Call a Professional
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In the days after you have the bonding done, call your dentist if you notice sharp edges on the bonded teeth. Also call if your teeth feel strange or "off" when you bite down.

At any time, call your dentist if the bonding chips or if pieces fall out.

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  See Also . . .
Solution Sleuth
Considering Cosmetic Dentistry
Smile Makeovers: Cosmetic Dentistry Today
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