A very hot topic with our patients these days is the use of cosmetic composite bonding. So, why is it so popular and one of my favourite treatments to provide?
What is composite bonding?
Firstly, let me explain that dental composite is a resin material used for many purposes including fillings, fissure sealants, bonding (sticking) of crowns and veneers to teeth and many more. If you’ve ever had a “white” filling, this would have been made of composite.
Cosmetically it can be used to enhance the shape and shade of the front teeth, in a process called ‘bonding’ where the resin is cured to the enamel. Although it does not damage the enamel, the procedure is a permanent one.
Composite bonding can be used for a variety of aesthetic purposes, including;
-closing gaps and spaces
-building up small/ short teeth
-fixing chipped or broken teeth
-improving the appearance to be brighter/ whiter
-masking of dark/ unsightly teeth
Why do patients love this treatment?
- It’s minimally invasive meaning that it usually involves no enamel removal or drilling of the teeth
- The procedure doesn’t require local anaesthetic, and is pain free.
- It’s very cost effective, usually priced much less than porcelain/ ceramic veneers
- The procedure usually only takes one visit to complete- a ‘new smile in a day.’
- It is natural looking for those looking for a discrete result.
What is involved?
First a consultation is required, to check that the mouth is healthy and suitable for the procedure. Assuming a healthy mouth, the dentist will design the new smile and decide which teeth require bonding. Sometimes tooth whitening is performed first to brighten the natural teeth. This is not an essential step, however it does usually provide a better result for those looking for a whiter, brighter smile. Finally, the composite bonding is placed in one visit and a maintenance plan is provided suggesting a check up and hygienist visit twice per year.
How long does it last?
Majority dentists quote the longevity of this procedure to be 5-8 years however like any dental treatment this figure depends on how well they are cared for, so regular check ups and hygienist visits will ensure they stay their optimal for longer.
Composite bonding is a very artistic procedure for a dentist to perform, and is the reason why I enjoy it so much. It requires an aesthetic and artistic eye to visualise and design the new smile, whether that’s just a few changes or a complete makeover. It also requires an artistic touch, as the resin is free-hand moulded onto the teeth, and shaped.
My own technique involves layering the composite over the natural teeth, using resins of different shades and opacities to provide a more natural result. This layering technique takes much more time and artistic skill to provide superior aesthetic results.