Tooth bonding is a procedure in which an affected tooth (decayed, eroded, fractured, or worn) is filled and restored with composites. Recently, white fillings, also known as composite fillings, which get hard by curing them with an intensive light beam, have become increasingly popular
The purpose of dental filling is to preserve the hard tissues of teeth and protect the inner structures of the tooth and bone from the invasion of bacteria. Moreover, the lost function and esthetics can be restored by the dental filling procedure (cosmetic bonding).
If teeth are left untreated, this may lead to the conditions favorable for decay to develop, teeth can become sensitive and sore, and a fracture may occur. Eventually this can result in tooth loss.
Whether the procedure is needed, it is determined during a regular checkup.
How Is the Procedure Performed?
On a patient’s request, the procedure can be done under local anesthesia. Usually it takes from 30 to 60 minutes to complete depending on the extent and location of tooth damage.
First, the decay-damaged tissues of the tooth are removed, the walls of the tooth are etched with a special acid, washed out, dried, and a special adhesive system is applied to the surfaces. Then, the tooth is restored by applying the bonding agent in thin layers until the desired shape and natural surface texture are achieved. Each layer is hardened with a special light source. Once the filling has been placed, its excess is removed, and the restored tooth is checked for proper occlusion and polished.
What Should Be Known After the Procedure?
- The restored tooth sometimes can be very sensitive. Such sensitivity usually diminishes within a few weeks. If the tooth remains sensitive for more than 2–4 weeks, the patient has to see a dentist.
- Over time, fillings are worn, and cracks between the tooth and the filing can occur, leading to the conditions favorable for bacteria to accumulate and for secondary caries to develop. Therefore, it is important for the patient to see his/her dental hygienist and dentist regularly. During a routine checkup, old fillings can be polished.