What is Dental Bonding?

What is it?

Bonding is the dental technique of applying a natural looking composite resin to your tooth to as a means of repair.  Dental bonding is used to mend chips and fractures, fill in drilled holes after decay removal, or improve the aesthetics of a discolored tooth.  Porcelain veneers come from a laboratory after the dentist creates a customized mold for the best fit.  Bonding is applied directly to the existing tooth and can be completed in one visit. Dentists refer to this technique as bonding because it is shorter than saying direct composite resin bonding.

What it's Used for?

When you are looking into cosmetic dental procedures to improve the overall look of your smile, bonding is easiest and least expensive of all your options.  The material, or the composite resin, can be shaped, polished and colored to match your other teeth.  Dentists often rely on bonding to repair a chipped tooth without leaving behind a noticeable difference between the material and the tooth.  Bonding is also used to fill in gaps between teeth, change the shape of teeth, change the color of teeth, and even make teeth look longer.  Bonding can be used in non-cosmetic cases as an alternative filling material or even as a protective measure between the tooth’s exposed root and receding gums.


You do not have to have any preparation to use bonding as a dental treatment; when no drilling toward the tooth’s root is necessary, no anesthesia is necessary either.

How it's Done

You and your dentist will refer to a shade guide to choose the best color of composite resin color for your teeth.  Next, your dentist will carefully etch the surface of the tooth to rough the enamel.  Then the dentist will lightly apply a conditioning liquid to help the bonding material adhere to the rough surface.  Next the dentist will apply the resin in your chosen color to your tooth and adjust the resin until it is smooth and in the correct shape.  The dentist will use a UV light or laser to harden and set the resin in its permanent place.  The dentist will continue to adjust the hard resin to its ideal shape and finally the dentist will polish it to match the rest of the tooth. In total, the whole procedure lasts between 30 minutes to an hour and if you need work on more than one tooth, then you may have more than one visit. Resin will stain from tea, coffee, and cigarette smoke so avoid those for the first 48 hours after the procedure.


Your natural tooth is stronger than the resin used in bonding so its important to protect your dentist’s work.  Avoid using your teeth to open packages, chewing on crunchy and sticky food, and other aggressive behaviors and the bonding can last several years without needing repair.

When to Call a Professional

After you have had the bonding done, take care to notice any sharp edges or misalignment when you bite down.  Be sure to follow up with your dentist if your teeth feel strange and the feeling does not start to subside or anytime the bonding chips or feels loose.

More on Dental Bonding : How Much Does Dental Bonding Cost?