How does a dentist make a bonded restoration?
A dentist follows these same general steps with any type of bonding.
The information found on this page contains an overview of the individual steps a dentist will typically perform when placing any type of bonded restoration. As you probably already realize from having read the information found on our pages, there are a variety of different applications and indications for the use of dental bonding. These range from composite fillings (white fillings) that are used to repair teeth that have been damaged by tooth decay or fracture to cosmetic bonding that a dentist places on healthy teeth primarily as a means to enhance their cosmetic appearance.
Since there is such a wide range of uses for dental bonding some of the steps we have listed here might not be required for a particular type of bonding procedure. Or else you might find that a step might take such a brief amount of time that you are unaware that it has even been performed.
A) Numbing the tooth.
As we just mentioned, tooth bonding encompasses a wide range of individual dental procedures and a local anesthetic ("Novocaine") may not be needed for many of them. The necessity for anesthetic will most likely hinge upon the amount of tooth shaping that the dentist needs to perform in preparation for placing the bonding. In the case of some cosmetic tooth bonding procedures so little tooth reduction may be needed that a local anesthetic will not be required. In other situations, such as one where a composite filling is being placed so to repair the damage caused by tooth decay, more extensive shaping will probably be needed and therefore an anesthetic will be required so to keep you comfortable throughout the procedure.
B) Shade selection.
Dental bonding comes in a variety of tooth-colored shades. Your dentist will need to determine which one (or ones) will be needed so your new bonded restoration mimics the appearance of your natural tooth structure as closely as possible.
C) Cleaning the tooth.
Dental bonding will not adhere well to a tooth surface that is covered with dental plaque, tartar, or any other surface accumulation. Before the bonding process is begun your dentist will need to buff or polish this debris off.
D) Tooth isolation.
The protocol for placing dental bonding is fairly technique sensitive. It is a requirement of this protocol that certain steps are performed under dry conditions (meaning that the tooth is kept free of contamination by oral fluids). This means that the dentist must find a way to isolate the tooth being worked on (keep the tooth dry).
Sometimes isolating a tooth can be as simple as placing rolls of cotton next to it. At other times a dentist may feel that they can only isolate the tooth adequately if they stretch a sheet of rubber (latex actually) around the tooth.
E) Preparing the tooth.
Since there is such a wide range of applications for the use of dental bonding the precise amount of tooth shaping that will be required for any specific bonded restoration can vary greatly. In some cases the dental bonding might be primarily cosmetic in nature and just an addition onto a tooth's surface, so to give the tooth some minor shape or contour enhancements. If so, little or no tooth shaping may be needed.
At the other extreme a dentist might be placing dental bonding so to create a composite filling that will repair the damage caused by tooth decay. If this is the case, the amount of drilling that is needed could be relatively extensive.
Use this link to continue reading about this subject: The dental bonding procedure - Part 2.