Cosmetic,  Dentist,  Procedures

Dental Bonding (Teeth Bonding) vs Veneers – Cost Price, What is it, What to Expect

Key Facts

  • Dental bonding is a procedure where a tooth-colored resin material is applied to the tooth and hardened with a special light, ultimately bonding the material to the tooth
  • This cosmetic procedure is used to repair chipped, decayed, or discolored teeth and make them appear longer
  • Dental bonding is a cost-effective and minimally invasive alternative to veneers and crowns
  • The entire process generally takes 30 minutes to one hour per tooth
  • The results of dental bonding can last several years, depending on oral habits

What is Dental Bonding (Tooth Bonding)?

Dental bonding, also known as tooth bonding, is a cosmetic dentistry procedure that involves applying a tooth-colored composite resin to one or more of your teeth to repair damage. It’s called bonding because the material bonds to the tooth. Dental bonding is considered to be one of the easiest and least expensive cosmetic dental procedures. The composite resin used in bonding can be shaped and polished to match the surrounding teeth. Most often, bonding is used for cosmetic purposes to improve the appearance of a discolored or chipped tooth.

When is Dental Bonding Recommended?

Dental bonding is recommended for various reasons including but not limited to:

  • Repairing decayed teeth: Composite resins can be used to fill cavities
  • Repairing chipped or cracked teeth: To restore the appearance and function of the tooth
  • Improving the appearance of discolored teeth: When teeth whitening is not suitable
  • Closing spaces between teeth: To provide a more even, attractive smile
  • Making teeth look longer or changing their shape: To give a more pleasing appearance
  • Protecting a portion of the tooth’s root: When it has been exposed due to receding gums

How Common is Dental Bonding?

Dental bonding is a common procedure because it is relatively easy and less expensive than other cosmetic treatments. Many people choose dental bonding as a cosmetic alternative to amalgam fillings, or to protect exposed roots due to receding gums. It’s also often used as a transitional or temporary measure for aesthetic purposes before more extensive cosmetic dentistry treatments are undertaken.

Dental Bonding vs Veneers: What’s the Difference?

Dental bonding and veneers are both used to improve the appearance of your teeth, but there are significant differences between the two:

  • Material: Bonding uses a composite resin, while veneers are often made of porcelain.
  • Durability: Veneers are generally more durable and can last longer than bonding.
  • Cost: Dental bonding is less expensive than veneers.
  • Procedure Time: Bonding can usually be done in a single visit, while veneers require two or more visits.
  • Tooth Preparation: Dental bonding requires minimal tooth preparation, whereas veneers require a small amount of the tooth’s surface to be removed.
  • Reversibility: Dental bonding is reversible since it doesn’t involve removing a significant amount of tooth structure, while veneers are considered irreversible.

Bonding Procedure: What Happens Before Teeth Bonding?

Before dental bonding, a consultation with your dentist is crucial. During the consultation, your dentist will examine your teeth to determine if dental bonding is the right option for you. You may also discuss what you hope to achieve in terms of appearance and your dentist might take X-rays to analyze the health of your teeth. Your dentist will inform you of the available options and discuss the pros and cons of each. If dental bonding is deemed appropriate, you will schedule an appointment for the procedure.

Bonding Procedure: What Happens During Dental Bonding?

The dental bonding process involves the following steps:

  • Preparation: Little advanced preparation is needed for dental bonding. Anesthesia is often not necessary unless the bonding is being used to fill a decayed tooth.
  • Shade Selection: Your dentist will use a shade guide to select a composite resin color that closely matches the color of your natural teeth.
  • Tooth Preparation: The surface of the tooth will be roughened, and a conditioning liquid applied. This helps the bonding material adhere to the tooth.
  • Application of Resin: The putty-like, tooth-colored resin is applied, molded, and smoothed to the desired shape.
  • Hardening Process: Your dentist will use an ultraviolet light or laser to harden the material. Once the material is hard, your dentist will further trim and shape it.
  • Final Polishing: The final step is polishing the material to match the sheen of the rest of the tooth surface. The process takes about 30 minutes to an hour per tooth.
  • Bonding Procedure: What Happens After Teeth Bonding?

    After dental bonding, it’s important to take care of your bonded teeth to ensure that the bonding material does not chip or break. Some tips include:

    • Avoiding chewing on hard objects such as ice or pens
    • Avoiding biting your nails
    • Avoiding drinking coffee, tea, or using tobacco products for the first 48 hours to prevent staining
    • Practicing good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing regularly
    • Scheduling regular dental check-ups

    What are the Advantages of Dental Bonding?

    Dental bonding comes with several advantages, including:

    • Cost-Effective: It is among the least expensive cosmetic dental procedures.
    • Speed: The procedure is quick, usually requiring only one visit to complete.
    • Conservative approach: Very little tooth enamel is removed during the bonding process, which is beneficial for maintaining long-term tooth health.
    • Versatility: Dental bonding can be used to correct a variety of dental issues including chipped, discolored, or slightly decayed teeth.
    • Aesthetics: The material used for bonding can be matched closely to your natural teeth, providing a natural appearance.

    However, it’s important to note that while dental bonding has many benefits, it’s not as durable as other restorative procedures, such as crowns, veneers, or fillings. Regular dental check-ups are vital to monitor the condition of bonded teeth.

    What are the Disadvantages of Teeth Bonding?

    While dental bonding is a versatile and minimally invasive procedure, it comes with some disadvantages:

    • Durability: The material used in dental bonding is not as strong as your natural teeth. It might chip or break with time.
    • Staining: Unlike crowns and veneers, dental bonding material is more susceptible to staining from coffee, tea, tobacco, and other substances.
    • Aesthetic Limitations: For extensive and major cosmetic changes, veneers or crowns might be more suitable options, as bonding might not achieve the desired aesthetic for large-scale changes.
    • Shorter Lifespan: The bonding material usually doesn’t last as long as other restorative procedures like veneers or crowns.
    • Not Ideal for Large Cavities: Dental bonding is not ideal for large cavities or areas of the teeth that are subjected to excessive biting pressure.

    When Should I See My Dentist?

    After getting dental bonding, it’s important to maintain regular dental check-ups. Generally, seeing your dentist every six months for a routine cleaning and examination is recommended. However, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist sooner if you notice any of the following:

    • Discomfort or Sharp Edges: If you feel discomfort or sharp edges on the bonded tooth, it could be an indication that the bonding is not properly polished or has chipped.
    • Staining or Discoloration: If the bonding material becomes significantly stained or discolored, it might need to be polished or replaced.
    • Chipping or Cracking: If the bonding material chips or cracks, it’s crucial to see your dentist as soon as possible to prevent further damage.
    • Loosening of the Bonding Material: If the bonding material feels loose or seems to be detaching from the tooth, immediate dental attention is required.
    • Sensitivity or Pain: If you experience sensitivity or pain in or around the bonded tooth, especially when biting or consuming hot or cold foods and beverages, this may signal an underlying issue that needs attention.

    Remember, dental bonding is an investment in your oral health and appearance, so taking care of it and addressing any issues promptly can help ensure it lasts as long as possible.

    What Could Affect the Dental Bonding Cost?

    The cost of dental bonding can vary depending on several factors:

    • Location of the Dental Practice: The cost of living and overhead expenses in different regions can affect the pricing. Typically, dental services are more expensive in urban areas compared to rural areas.
    • Extent of the Procedure: The complexity and extent of the dental bonding procedure play a role in the cost. For example, bonding that is performed for cosmetic enhancement may be priced differently compared to bonding that is needed to repair a decayed tooth.
    • Material Used: The type and quality of the composite resin material used in the bonding can influence the cost. Some materials are more expensive than others due to their durability or aesthetic properties.
    • Dentist’s Experience and Expertise: The fee charged by a dentist might also reflect their level of experience and expertise. An experienced dentist with specialized training in cosmetic dentistry might charge more than a general dentist.
    • Additional Procedures: Sometimes, dental bonding is just one part of a more comprehensive treatment plan. If additional procedures such as dental cleaning, x-rays, or fillings are required, this will increase the total cost.
    • Dental Insurance Coverage: Whether or not your dental insurance covers dental bonding and to what extent it does can significantly affect your out-of-pocket expenses. Generally, if the bonding is required for structural reasons, insurance is more likely to cover at least part of the cost, whereas purely cosmetic procedures may not be covered.

    How Much Does Dental Bonding Cost?

    The typical cost for dental bonding per tooth in the United States can range from $100 to $500 for a simple repair, and up to $600 to $1200 or more for more complex cosmetic cases (as of 2023). It’s important to note that prices may have changed since then and it’s always a good idea to get an estimate from your dentist, and also check with your dental insurance provider to understand what portion, if any, they will cover.

    What is the Recovery Time After Dental Bonding?

    There’s typically no significant recovery time after dental bonding. Most patients can resume normal activities and eating habits immediately after the procedure. However, since the bonding material is susceptible to staining, it’s recommended to avoid consuming highly pigmented foods and beverages for 48 hours after the procedure.

    Is Dental Bonding Painful?

    Dental bonding is generally not painful, and anesthesia is usually not necessary unless the procedure is being used to fill a decayed tooth. Some patients might experience mild discomfort during the tooth roughening process, but it’s typically minimal.

    Do Teeth Need Special Care After Dental Bonding?

    Teeth do not require specialized care after dental bonding, but some precautions can help prolong the life of the bonding:

    • Practice good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing daily
    • Avoid biting on hard objects or foods that could chip the bonding material
    • Minimize the consumption of food and drinks that can stain your teeth, such as coffee, tea, red wine, and tobacco
    • Visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings

    How Long Does Dental Bonding Last?

    The longevity of dental bonding varies based on oral habits and the amount of bonding done. On average, dental bonding lasts between 3 to 10 years before needing repair or replacement. Proper care can extend the lifespan of the bonding material.

    Is Bonding Good for Your Teeth?

    Dental bonding is a safe and effective treatment for minor cosmetic dental issues. It’s minimally invasive and can be done without removing much of the tooth’s structure, which is beneficial for maintaining the health of your teeth in the long term. However, it’s important to have realistic expectations and discuss with your dentist if dental bonding is the best option for your specific dental issues. In cases where there are major cosmetic or structural concerns, alternative treatments like veneers or crowns might be more appropriate.

    Is Bonding on Teeth Permanent?

    Dental bonding is not a permanent solution, but it is relatively long-lasting with proper care. The composite resin material used in dental bonding can last for several years, typically between 3 to 10 years, depending on factors such as the patient’s oral hygiene, dietary habits, and the location of the bonded tooth. Over time, the bonding material can wear down, chip, or become stained, and may need to be repaired or replaced.

    Bottom line

    Dental bonding is an efficient, versatile, and minimally invasive procedure that can vastly improve the appearance and functionality of your teeth. Whether you have chipped, discolored, or slightly misaligned teeth, dental bonding offers a relatively inexpensive and quick solution. However, while it has numerous advantages including cost-effectiveness and speed, it’s important to recognize that dental bonding isn’t as durable as other restorative procedures like veneers or crowns. Being aware of the care required in maintaining dental bonding is essential. It requires good oral hygiene practices and regular dental check-ups to ensure that the bonding material doesn’t deteriorate or become stained.

    This article is complete and was published on June 27, 2023, and last updated on August 26, 2023.

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