Expert Doctor

Dental Bonding

Jordan Davis, MD

Bountiful, UT

Dental Bonding

Dental bonding is similar to fillings for cavities. While it can be performed on any tooth, dental bonding mainly refers to the teeth in the front of the mouth. This type of treatment is used to fix a tooth that has been chipped, broken or decayed. Dental bonding can also correct teeth with contour irregularities or fill-in gaps between teeth to enhance the patient’s smile. The bonding material can consist of different materials but, for aesthetic purposes, it is made from a tooth colored composite resin material. Dental bonding is also referred to as tooth bonding, resin bonding and composite bonding. Nevertheless, it all refers back to composite resin that can quickly restore the appearance of the teeth.

Am I a Good Candidate for Dental Bonding?

A GOOD CANDIDATE for dental bonding includes:

  • Any patient with a cracked, chipped or broken tooth near the front of the mouth
  • A patient who wishes to close a gap between the two front teeth or other teeth
  • Any patient with teeth that are worn down from age or bruxism
  • Patients who want better contoured teeth or the edges to look rounded
  • Patients who do not want metal fillings in the mouth
  • Any patient looking for a quick, conservative means for minor tooth repair

The following patients are NOT GOOD CANDIDATES for dental bonding:

  • A patient with excessively damaged teeth
  • A patient with a loose tooth or weakened tooth
  • Patients with an infection or active gum disease

How is Dental Bonding Performed?

Dental bonding is performed in the dentist’s office and can usually be accomplished in one session. However, large gaps or restorations may require two sessions if the restoration is going to be fabricated in a laboratory for added stability. This process is referred to as an indirect filling. Dental bonding does not usually require an injection of local anesthetic unless the repairs are near the tooth’s root or if a filling for a cavity is also needed.

Dental bonding is very conservative when repairing the natural tooth’s structure even when removing decayed portions of the tooth. The process of removing a cavity and immediately replacing it with a tooth-colored composite is known as a direct filling. Nevertheless, the dentist will use a shade guide to select a composite resin color that closely matches the patient’s natural tooth color. A clear dental strip, or Mylar strip, will be placed between the teeth to keep the composite resin material from getting onto the adjacent teeth. The dentist will use a dental drill to etch the tooth for a more secure bond. A conditioning liquid will be applied to the tooth to help the bonding material adhere to the tooth. The tooth-colored resin is applied, molded and shaped to the tooth. A curing light is used to bond or harden the material to the tooth. Once the material has bonded, the dentist will trim and reshape the tooth. Then, he or she will check the bite alignment of the teeth and make any necessary adjustments. Finally, the tooth will be polished to match the sheen of the natural teeth.

Alternative Treatments

Veneers are wafer-thin, custom-made shells that are tooth colored and bond to the front surface of the teeth. Veneers can change the shape, size, length or color of the teeth and can be used to repair damaged teeth.

Dental veneers are not as conservative with the natural tooth and they are more costly than dental bonding. They are sometimes a stronger and more suitable option when there is a lot of damage to the tooth.

What is the Cost of Dental Bonding?

The cost of dental bonding depends on how many teeth need repaired, the type of filling performed and the extent of the damage. In general, the fillings are $2500 to $400 per tooth. Dental insurance may cover a portion of the cost if the restoration is to repair a cracked, chipped or decayed tooth. Prior to any dental restoration, patients should check with their insurance provider to see what may be covered.

Recovery and Downtime

There is little to no RECOVERY or DOWNTIME associated with dental bonding. The patient may experience some mild discomfort on the area where the bonding was performed and the gum tissue may be sore if an anesthetic injection was given. Patients who had an injection of local anesthesia will have numbness in the gums, lips and/or tongue for several hours after the procedure. These patients are advised to be cautious when eating or drinking anything since they can accidently bite or burn themselves on extremely hot foods and beverages.

A patient may resume all normal activities immediately after dental bonding. Although the bonded material will be ready to chew on before the patient leaves the dentist’s office, patients should avoid consuming dark colored foods and beverages during the first 24 hours. This is because the restoration will continue to strengthen and become more stain resistant over several hours. Some tooth sensitivity is common after dental bonding but this will usually subside within a few days to a few weeks. To help with sensitivity issues, patients are advised to avoid extremely hot or cold foods and beverages during this time. Toothpastes for sensitivity can also help with these symptoms.


Results after dental bonding can be seen immediately. A composite restoration can last 10 years, or more, depending on the patient’s lifestyle and oral hygiene habits. Dental bonding is very durable but restorations can break or chip over time if the patient abuses them by chewing on hard objects. To maintain the effects of dental bonding, patients should brush at least 2 times a day and floss daily. Undergoing regular dental cleanings can help protect the restorations. Patients should not smoke or drink excessively to preserve the integrity of the teeth and restorations.

Limitations of Dental Bonding

The limitations involved with dental bonding include:

  • Dental bonding may be limited to minor repairs and improvements
  • Tooth contouring on the front teeth may require more than one office visit
  • Loose or weakened teeth may be limited from dental bonding
  • Any patient with active gum disease or an infection may be limited from dental procedures until the symptoms are properly treated
  • Patients with a large gap in the front teeth may be limited to an indirect filling which requires making an impression of the mouth and sending it away to a laboratory for fabrication

Risks of Dental Bonding

The risks associated with dental bonding include:

  • Sensitivity
  • Breaking or chipping of the bonded material
  • Sharp edges
  • Irregular bite
  • An allergic reaction to the bonding material
  • Discoloration of the composite material
  • De-bonding

Dental Bonding Restores the Smile

Dental bonding can repair teeth that have been chipped, broken or decayed while still preserving most of the tooth’s natural structure. Dental bonding can fill a gap and provide better contoured teeth by using a tooth colored resin material. This type of treatment can restore a patient’s smile and help build better self-confidence. However, dental bonding may not be right for every patient. Since there are many different options for dental restoration, patients should schedule an appointment with a skilled cosmetic dentist to find the best treatment option for their particular dental needs.

Written by Cosmetic Town Editorial Team- MA

Based on an exclusive interview with Jordan Davis, DDS in Bountiful, UT