Composite bonding is increasingly becoming a household term. More than ever, we are seeing this phrase through social media platforms such as Instagram and Tiktok, which has led to it becoming one of the most common procedures that people are having to improve their smile. Everyone is showing off the results of their latest smile makeover on social media and these words keep cropping up whenever someone asks what work they have had done! Is composite bonding right for you?
What is Composite bonding?
So lets discuss the process. In simple terms, Composite bonding is the process of applying a high quality tooth coloured resin material on to your teeth, which is then shaped and polished to a high standard. This allows the shape, size and colour of your teeth to be changed and improved which results in a nicer smile.
Firstly, each tooth is individually washed and cleaned with a mild acidic gel, just like a “tooth shampoo”. This prepares the teeth for the “glue” bonding agent, which is then placed, to enable the composite to stick to the tooth. Now we are ready for the composite to be applied. The composite is placed individually on to each tooth and hand sculpted into a rough shape, and is then hardened with the UV light. Once the composite has been placed, it can then be shaped further to create natural and lifelike tooth shapes. The final stage is the polish! The composite is then polished to a high degree using polishing discs which makes them look as shiny as your own natural teeth.
Composite Edge Bonding vs Composite Veneers
Composite edge bonding is exactly that. Composite is added on to the edge of the tooth usually to increase the length and restore any chipped or worn edges of the teeth. This is a very minimal approach and is useful for patients who request very subtle/minimal changes to their own teeth.
Composite Veneers are layered over the whole surface of the tooth and can make bigger changes to the shape, size and volume of the teeth.
Does it damage your teeth?
Composite bonding is an additive procedure, and usually requires no preparation of the tooth. This does however require the teeth to be straight first. If there are any rotated/bulky teeth to begin with then this will result in an uneven thickness of composite in different areas and it may compromise the final result. The best thing to do is consult with your dentist first to see if the teeth could benefit from being straightened first.
Does it hurt?
As there is usually no preparation of the teeth required, there is no pain at all associated with composite bonding, no injections or anaesthetic are needed either!
How long does it last?
Composite bonding is usually done in one single appointment, so you can leave the clinic with a brand new smile the very same day.
It lasts anywhere from 3-7 years, and this varies from person to person. It is dependent upon your cleaning routine, diet (avoiding too many foods/drinks which stain), and attending regular maintenance appointments to keep them looking fresh. Composite is not as strong as your own natural teeth and therefore care needs to be taken to ensure it doesn’t chip or break. The good news is that if it does chip it is quite straightforward to repair. Your dentist may recommend wearing a mouthguard or retainer at night to help reduce the risk of chipping.
Once you finally feel that your composites need re-doing / replacing, this can simply be done by carefully removing the old composite and repeating the procedure.
How much does it cost?
This is a very generic question, and it will vary from clinic to clinic. It is important to note that composite bonding is not a one size fits all approach. It requires years of training and skill, as well as artistic flair to ensure the best results for every single patient.
Having said that, it is generally more cost effective than other cosmetic procedures such as porcelain veneers or crowns, and less destructive to your teeth.
Please do your research when considering composite bonding, and ask to see examples of the dentists own work to see what can be achieved with your smile. Don’t choose on price alone!
Is it right for me?
Before starting with composite bonding, it is normally recommended to whiten your teeth first to brighten the overall smile before starting composite bonding. This will also help to shade match the composite to your own natural teeth, which allows it to blend seamlessly with the rest of your smile.
As always, the best thing to do is to have a consultation with your dentist to see if composite bonding can improve your smile. It can be very useful to fix any chipped/worn teeth, any discolourations, gaps or mis-shaped teeth.
Overall, composite bonding is a very cost effective and safe way to improve your smile.