Composite bonding is the application of an aesthetic tooth coloured resin to partially or fully cover the tooth surface. It can be used to repair chipped or worn edges of teeth, change the shape of teeth, or to completely resurface a tooth.
Addition of composite material to the edges of teeth is also known as ‘edge bonding.’
Full coverage of the tooth with composite is also known as ‘composite veneers.’
In most cases there is no drilling of the tooth surface prior to composite bonding. However, if there is an old filling that requires replacement or decay then this will require removal. A gel is applied to the tooth and washed off. This gel prepares the tooth surface for the bonding. Bond (a dental adhesive) is applied to the tooth and set with a blue light. The composite resin is then applied to the tooth and sculpted appropriately. The composite is set with the blue light and then shaped further and polished.
You maybe aware of your teeth for sometime after the procedure. This feeling will settle as your mouth adapts. The teeth may appear thicker if veneered or longer if edge bonded. I advise you to take extra care when eating during this time, until you are used to your new smile. You can brush and floss as normal after the procedure.
With most composite veneer treatment I will recommend a nightguard to protect your new smile from destructive nocturnal clenching and grinding forces. This is important to prevent chipping and fracture of the composite.
Teeth whitening and composite bonding
Teeth whitening should be undertaken prior to composite bonding. Any tooth whitening must be avoided for a minimum of 2 weeks prior and post composite bonding.
How long does composite bonding last?
Composite resin can stain, chip and dull over time. This is due to the nature of the material. Chipping is a risk factor. Composite may need polishing and can be repaired. Generally I see good results with composite lasting approximately 3-5 years before the need for replacement.
What is the difference between porcelain and composite veneers?
Porcelain veneers involve some preparation to the tooth surface prior to placement. Porcelain veneers are made by a lab technician and then bonded to the tooth surface. Costs of treatment are much higher and aesthetics long term are greater. They are more stain resistant and longevity can be approximately 10 years. There are risks of fracture and debonding, however these are less common than composite veneers.