Let’s start with what bonded teeth actually are…
Put simply, dental bonding is the process your dentist uses to apply a tooth-coloured resin material to your tooth or teeth. The resin is attached with the aid of a specialist adhesive, then set with an ultraviolet light or laser. The procedure may be performed for any of several reasons, including to:
- repair a chipped tooth or an otherwise damaged tooth
- repair a decayed tooth (as an external “filling”)
- change the shape and/or size of a tooth
- improve the colour of a tooth or teeth
- close gaps between teeth.
Depending on the reason for bonding, the procedure may require very little preparation and may not even require local anaesthesia. Once applied, the resin will be precisely contoured, shaped and polished by your dentist to ensure that it not only looks good but also feels comfortable for you.
Do bonded teeth require special care or attention?
The short answer is: No, no special care is generally required. However, it is as important as ever to keep up good oral hygiene at home to prevent any future problems. If you have bonded teeth, your oral hygiene regimen should include:
- brushing twice daily with a soft toothbrush, concentrating not only on your teeth but on your gum line to remove plaque
- using dental floss daily to clean between teeth where your toothbrush cannot reach
- maintaining a healthy diet that minimises your intake of foods or drinks containing sugar or acid
- drinking plenty of plain tap water
- avoiding habits that may damage or chip the bonding material – such as biting your fingernails or opening packets with your teeth
- avoiding, for at least the first two days following placement, certain substances which may stain the bonding material – e.g. tea, coffee, red wine, tobacco
- avoiding abrasive toothpastes.
Even with good care, some dental bonding materials may require repair or replacement over time. This can be due to chipping or staining or if you develop further decay. So regular visits to your dentist and hygienist will also help you maintain an attractive, healthy smile for life!
Dr Claire McCullough
BHlthSciDent, MDent (La Trobe)