Composite or dental bonding is a method to transform a smile through small, conservative changes using a direct sculpting technique. Multiple shades and translucencies of materials are directly sculpted in the mouth to create natural, seamless beauty on front teeth. This procedure can dramatically improve the look of small teeth, gaps, spaces, and chips, often without any tooth preparation. It is an ideal treatment for young patients who still have some gaps / small teeth after finishing their braces.
Both Drs. Fred and Alexandra have a passion for this artistic procedure, and the conservative, yet profound, result it can give patients. The mastery of this technique requires countless additional hours of continuing education, as it is far more advanced than conventional bonding of fillings.
*All patient photos are cases done in our office.
How Is Dental Bonding Done?
The composite material is about the consistency of modeling clay, which enables Dr. Arnold to sculpt it. First it has to be bonded to the tooth. To accomplish that, Dr. Arnold gently roughens the tooth surface next to the area that needs to be repaired, etches it, applies a bonding resin, and then places the composite over that. Done correctly, the composite will adhere to the tooth as if it’s a part of the enamel. For larger repairs, composites of various shades, translucencies, and surface characteristics will be used to re-create the missing parts of your tooth. A special light hardens the resin. Then Dr. Arnold will give the finishing touches to the shape and will polish it to a high gloss so that it mimics your enamel.
Looking at the photos of Dr. Arnold’s work above, you’ll notice that the teeth aren’t uniform in color. They are a little darker near the gumline. Right at the biting edge they have extra translucency. Re-creating this appearance requires artistic talent, which is why most dentists try to avoid having to do this work. It also requires the use of multiple composites of varying shades, opacities, and surface characteristics. A dentist who isn’t serious about cosmetic dentistry wouldn’t even stock all of those materials. Dr. Arnold, however, is an Accredited Fellow with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), which makes him one of the top cosmetic dentists in the country. You can be assured that whatever bonding work he does will look both beautiful and natural.
Composite Bonding versus Porcelain Veneers
Porcelain veneers and direct dental bonding are similar procedures—the difference is in the material. Dental bonding is done freehand in your mouth with sculptable composites. When porcelain is used, it is fabricated by Dr. Arnold’s master ceramist in the laboratory and then is later bonded to the tooth.
Both procedures can be used to change the shape, size, and color of your teeth. Porcelain, however, tends to be used when the entire tooth is involved, or multiple entire teeth. Dental bonding tends to be used when only parts of the tooth need to be repaired, because the coloring can be blended and the composite can be feathered over the remaining part of the tooth to make the repair undetectable.
Another difference is that porcelain is much harder and more stain resistant than composite, so it lasts much longer. It actually resists stains better than natural tooth enamel. While a smile makeover with composite bonding may only last 2-4 years before it loses its luster and begins to stain, porcelain veneers will look beautiful for many years. Porcelain is also more expensive.
If you’re in need of dental bonding, you may call our office to schedule an appointment with Dr. Arnold. If you prefer, you may click here to request an appointment online.