Many people are aware that dentists can file down teeth that are misshapen or excessively sharp. However, you may not know that dentists can also build onto the enamel by adding dental composite through a process called dental bonding. Here are four of the most common applications of dental bonding.
Repairing Cracked Teeth
Cracked enamel is one of the most noticeable cosmetic dental problems. Luckily, dentists can use bonding to repair cracks without replacing the tooth as long as the pulp (the layer beneath the enamel) is not damaged.
Dental bonding is especially useful for repairing cracks in the front teeth, because it is identical in color to your natural enamel. To repair cracks, your dentist will first fill the crack with a conditioning liquid to make it easier for the dental composite to adhere to the enamel. The composite is then applied to the crack in putty form. The putty can be sculpted and scaled so that it is flush with the outer surface of the tooth and the crack is no longer visible.
While a professional teeth cleaning from your dentist is usually the best option for whole-mouth whitening, there will sometimes be spots on one or more teeth that normal whitening can't remove. These spots originate from beneath the enamel and are referred to as intrinsic stains. Intrinsic stains are often caused by decay that has damaged the pulp of the teeth. Dental enamel is somewhat transparent, so decayed material in the center of the tooth can sometimes show through as dark patches.
Dental bonding can be used to hide virtually any discoloration on the teeth, including intrinsic stains. The composite putty is opaque enough that a thin layer applied to the surface of the enamel will hide discoloration under the enamel. When you visit your dentist for tooth bonding to hide intrinsic stains, he or she can also analyze the affected teeth to see if there is enough necrotic pulp to require root canal therapy.
Shrinking Gaps Between Teeth
Excess spacing between the teeth can be caused by a number of factors. If all of your teeth have extra wide gaps between them, it may be caused by a mismatch between the growth rate of the teeth and jawbone. Gaps between just two teeth or a localized group of teeth can be caused by trauma, thumb sucking, or tongue thrust.
Bonding is an excellent solution to minimize the appearance of gaps between teeth without altering the position of the teeth themselves. When dental composite is added to the outside edges of your teeth, they appear larger. This in turn reduces the amount of visible space between each tooth.
Covering Exposed Roots
Gum recession is a process that happens naturally over time, but it can also be accelerated by gum disease. Gum recession can expose the roots of your teeth and lead to a number of problems, including painful sensitivity to temperature and dental sockets that are more prone to bacterial infection.
By adding a layer of dental composite around the bases of your teeth, dentists can solve many problems associated with gum recession. Dental composite helps to insulate your tooth roots from the extreme temperatures of foods and beverages. Bonding around the roots of your teeth also makes it harder for bacteria to build up in the dental sockets by covering the gap between your roots and the surrounding gum tissue.
Dental bonding is one of the most versatile dental procedures available. Talk to your dentist about the possibility of using dental bonding if you are unsatisfied with the appearance, condition, spacing, or sensitivity of your teeth.