04 Dec Are composite bondings a good idea?
Posted by: Jodie Blades Dental Nurse NVQ Level 3
Medically reviewed by: Dr Peta Leigh | BDS (Melb), BSc (Monash) GDC: 78758 | Award-Winning Cosmetic & Whitening Dentist
The pros and cons of types of composite bonding; Myth-busting for patients
Are composite bondings right for you?
In the recent years there has been a fashionable trend to move away from traditional porcelain veneers to ‘composite bonding’ which uses composite resin (white filling material) to add to or fully cover (veneer) teeth to improve smiles. Indeed composite resin can be used as an alternative to porcelain and create the same smile design results in many cases.
Composite resins and their ability to mimic natural shiny tooth enamel (any be maintained with periodic polishing) have improved greatly over the last 10 to 15 years and now these materials can in some cases look as good, and sometimes even better than porcelain veneers. They often do not require much, if any, reduction of tooth enamel as the material is applied almost like a thick paint or putty to the teeth and thus can be kept very thin.
It does not normally require a dental technician to construct the veneer and therefore saves both the patient and dentist, time and money; composite veneers are usually about 50% less of an investment compared to porcelain veneers!
Deciding if they are the right treatment for you depends very much on how your teeth are now, your budget, and how well you plan to look after them.
Already have lots of crowns & anterior fillings?
If you have had lots of previous dental work and a number of existing restorations then composite bondings are likely not the right treatment option for you. While there are some advanced bonding techniques that will adhere composite resin to other dental materials (like porcelain or ceramic), we can’t promise the same bond strength as with bonding to natural tooth tissue.
If you have lots of existing restorations and would like to improve their appearance or shade – you’re usually best to replace them for newer, more modern materials that have different shades, staining and translucencies built into them to provide a really natural result.
Have crooked or crowded teeth?
Composite bondings can be a good treatment to mask some degree of crowding, so it’s most certainly worth an assessment to see. The difficulty comes when the size and shape of the tooth becomes compromised – teeth can sometimes look ‘squeezed in’ or peg-shaped.
If your teeth are severely crowded then a very short course of cosmetic orthodontics might be the best place to start. Alleviating some of the crowding can give your dentist more space to craft a more natural-looking result with composite resin.
Spacing and gaps
Bondings can be the ideal solution to fill generalised spacing and or random gaps. But, if the spaces are too large – you end up with the opposite problem that crowding presents. Spaces that are too big can result in odd sized and shaped teeth, that can often be asymmetrical, which is less than ideal. But, if your spacing a slight or you have mid-line diastema (like Madonna, Lily Aldridge or Lara Stone!) then composite bonding can be a wonderful, cost-effective treatment.
Chipped, broken or uneven edges.
This is where bondings really excel. The handcrafted composite bondings that our cosmetic dentists at Willow Tree Dental create are award-winning! They able to be placed in one day and be so incredibly discreet that you’ll struggle to find the join. They can be a perfect adjunct to a course of orthodontics to really finesse the result and improve an uneven smile line. They too, are the best option for chipped and broken front teeth.
You cannot whiten composite resin
Once your bondings have been placed, you will not be able to improve or change the shade with whitening gels. You will be able to maintain the shade of your natural teeth to match the composite. And, to some degree lighten the tooth under the bonding. But, for the most part, you will not be able to alter the shade of your restorations.
If you would like lighter, brighter teeth, you should complete a course of tooth whitening prior to bonding treatment. It’s important to note, that this should aim to be completed a fortnight before your bondings are placed. This is to prevent something we occasionally see called ‘bounce back‘.
Sometimes, once you’ve achieved your desired shade, your teeth can fall back a shade or two in the immediate time afterwards. This is remedied with an additional night or two of top-up wear. Or, an accelerated whitening appointment in the dental office. You want to ensure you’re happy with your shade and that it is stable before you colour match your restorations.
There are few criteria that mean you might benefit from an additional or a different treatment. But generally. Yes! Composite bondings are a good idea.
Advantages of Bondings
- Cost effective.
- Can look more natural that a mouth full of porcelain veneers.
- Require less visits.
- Require little to no tooth preparation or damage to the enamel.
- Can be polished, shaped and amended easily.
Related: 5 Reasons to see a dental hygienist
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