Cosmetic applications for dental bonding. - Closing gaps. / White fillings.
A) Filling in tooth gaps.
Dentists use the term "diastema" to refer to a space (gap) that lies between two teeth.
From a standpoint of function and dental health, these types of spaces do not pose a problem. In regards to cosmetic appearances, however, some people find them unappealing.
Tooth bonding provides one way a dentist can "close" (fill in) a diastema. It can be placed on the two teeth that lie on each side of the gap so to reduce the gap's overall width.
Depending on its size, a dentist and patient might decide to fill their's in all of the way, or just partially.
Not all tooth gaps should be closed completely.
Dentist are usually eager to provide the dental treatment that their patients want but they are also obligated to only provide those treatments that are in their patient's best interest.
When closing a diastema, a dentist must sculpt the dental composite so that the region underneath the bonding can still be cleansed effectively with dental floss. In some cases a dentist might determine that a compromise must be made where a diastema is not closed entirely so it is certain that the patient can clean between their teeth properly. If a patient cannot clean underneath the bonding adequately, the tooth will be at risk for decay, gum disease, and gum recession.
How does the dentist place the tooth bonding?
The process by which a dentist closes a diastema is essentially the same as with any other tooth bonding procedure. In its most basic form the goal of this dental procedure is simply to increase the width of otherwise cosmetically pleasing teeth. If this is the case then there probably won't be any need for any tooth reduction (drilling). This also means that dental anesthetic will probably not be needed either.
Closing a diastema with dental bonding can be a reversible process.
Unlike almost all other types of dental restorations, using cosmetic tooth bonding to close a diastema can be a reversible process. If for some reason the results of the treatment are found to be unpleasing or problematic (such as the bonding creates a location that cannot be cleansed effectively) then the tooth bonding can be buffed off with no resulting damage to the teeth.
Advantages and disadvantages of using either cosmetic bonding or porcelain veneers to close tooth gaps.
It could be possible that a diastema might be closed by way of placing porcelain veneers rather than dental bonding. For the most part, the same advantages and disadvantages weighed when making a decision between porcelain veneers and composite veneers should be considered when deciding how to close a diastema.
B) White fillings for front teeth.
Composite fillings can mimic the appearance of tooth enamel.
For fillings for front teeth, where a natural appearance is of utmost importance, bonding is the restorative of choice.
That's because dental composite comes in a variety of shades of white, thus making it possible for your dentist to choose one that will closely mimic the color of your tooth.
Use this link to access our pages that outline the steps a dentist follows when placing a composite filling.
Disadvantages of white fillings.
It is the nature of dental bonding to wear and discolor with time but that is just the inconvenience associated with having allowed a cavity to form in the first place. For front teeth where decay has formed and a simple, conservative filling is needed, there really is no cosmetically pleasing alternative to dental bonding (dental composite).
C) Correcting minor cosmetic imperfections with bonding.
Some teeth have minor cosmetic imperfections such as isolated areas of staining, surface pitting or some type of shape irregularity. In other cases a tooth, or even several teeth, may have some sort of minor alignment discrepancy. Dental bonding can often provide an excellent way to remedy these types of cosmetic dilemmas.
Making a fix may be a very simple matter.
In many cases, correcting minor cosmetic tooth imperfections with dental bonding can be surprisingly easy. If no tooth decay is present, the corrective process may be as simple as just adding a bulk of dental composite to the tooth. Minimal, or possibly even no, tooth drilling may be needed. If this is the case, it is probable that no dental anesthetic ("shot") will be required.
Of course, each person's situation and treatment solution will be different. Since there are so many possible variations on this technique, you will simply have to ask your dentist for specifics about how involved the needed bonding treatment will be.
No repair will last forever.
Dental bonding that is placed as a correction for minor cosmetic imperfections cannot be expected to last indefinitely. It is the nature of dental composite to stain as years go by, although this darkening process will occur at different rates with different people. The person's consumption habits will typically play a role in this process. People who regularly consume dark beverages (colas, coffee, tea) or use tobacco products will tend to have more problems with stain formation that those who don't.
Despite its tendency for staining, for minor cosmetic corrections placing dental bonding on teeth is still the technique of choice. This is because in those cases where its application is appropriate, placing dental bonding is typically more conservative than other restorative choices such as dental crowns and possibly porcelain veneers (where amounts of tooth structure must be removed as part of the restorative process). In those cases where the appearance of the bonding has become objectionable, it's common that it can simply and easily be rejuvenated by buffing off some and placing a new layer of composite.