Bonding is useful for improving small irregularities or defects with the front teeth using a composite material. The tooth surface is prepared by etching it with a gel, a bonding liquid is painted over the tooth and is set firmly when a special blue light is shone on it. The composite (a putty-like resin material) is shaped and moulded onto the tooth to repair the defect, the light is used again to harden it. The set resin is trimmed and polished to restore the appearance of your tooth.
Advantages of bonding include; they are a good option for small chips, the tooth may not require any preparation, usually one visit to the dentist is needed, the colour can be matched to the existing tooth, it is a more conservative measure and can be repaired in the mouth by a dentist.
Disadvantages are that the composite material is not as strong as a veneer, is more prone to chipping or breaking and may need regular touch-up work.
Tooth coloured (composite) fillings are an alternative to metal (amalgam) fillings. They are made of plastic material, resin and small glass particles which are tooth coloured, rather than silver. There are many types of composite and can be suitable for repairing the front and back teeth.
After preparing the tooth your dentist will place layers of the composite filling into the area to be repaired. Each layer of material is hardened by curing with a special light. The composite is trimmed to fit the shape of the tooth and your bite, it is then polished to make it smooth for comfort and to reduce staining.
Composite fillings are more attractive than amalgam fillings, teeth filled with composite tend to be stronger, they can fit into smaller holes so less drilling is needed and composite fillings can help to insulate the tooth from temperature changes.
However; composite fillings take longer to place than amalgam, if used in larger cavities it can wear out sooner than amalgam fillings and a tooth filled with composite may be sensitive for some time after the procedure.