Direct composite bonding

This is a popular treatment for dental cosmetic purposes which has a variety of applications such as repairing chipped teeth, closing a gap or gaps between teeth and as a replacement for silver amalgam fillings.

It is an important part of a smile makeover treatment although it requires the services of a high skilled dentist to do so.

What is direct composite bonding?

This is a procedure in which a mouldable substance (similar to putty) is applied to a tooth for a variety of reasons. These include:

  • Repair cracked or chipped teeth
  • Direct filling
  • Replacement for amalgam fillings
  • Closing gaps between teeth
  • Reshaping unsightly teeth

It is also performed as part of a smile makeover.

The putty-like material is made of different fillers and acrylic resins which can be moulded to any shape of tooth. However, it is better suited to people with small to medium cavities rather than large cavities as the material is not strong enough over a large area.

If you have large cavities then consider ceramic inlays instead.

Advantages of direct composite bonding

This is a highly versatile form of treatment for a range of dental problems. It can be used to replace a silver amalgam filling or to improve the shape of a chipped tooth so that it blends in with the rest.

Another benefit is that the bonded tooth is indistinguishable from the others. It has a realistic ‘tooth colour’ and is both comfortable and safe to wear.

Disadvantages of direct composite bonding

A drawback with this treatment is that the material used is less strong compared to other materials. This means that it is less able to withstand extreme pressure or forces, e.g. teeth grinding and is liable to fracture.

Plus it is more prone to staining compared to other materials, e.g. ceramic or your natural teeth.

How is direct composite bonding performed?

This treatment is usually carried out under a local anaesthetic. This helps to numb the area around the tooth.

The tooth to be treated undergoes preparation: this involves cleaning followed by etching the surface with an acid type gel which makes it easier for the composite material to adhere to the tooth.

The composite material (also known as a ‘bonding agent’) is then applied to the tooth.

A light source – known as a ‘curing light’ is shone onto the treated tooth which causes the composite material to harden and solidify. The composite material is usually applied in layers which are built up over the tooth until they reach the desired effect.

These are polished and glazed to give a smooth, attractive appearance which also blends in with the other teeth.

The cost of this procedure depends upon the composite material, the procedure and the skill/experience of the dentist.

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