How Long Does Dental Bonding Last?
With so many cutting-edge dental treatments available on the market today, you have probably heard very little about dental bonding. This time-tested procedure uses dental composite for a wide range of cosmetic and restorative functions. A dentist can usually perform dental bonding in one visit, and the procedure is extremely cost efficient. However dental bonding is not as long-lasting as other comparable treatments. This is not to say that bonding is never a good choice; the results can still last for a number of years, and bonding offers several significant advantages. As with any treatment, it is important to discuss your options and desired results with your dentist.
What Is Bonding?
In essence, dental composite is a plastic enhanced with carefully chosen fillers. Composite that is used for restorative treatment is typically made with fillers that boost the strength of the material, while material used in cosmetic procedures is usually crafted to have a more realistic appearance. Composite comes in a wide range of shades, and you and your dentist will select the shade that most closely matches your natural tooth color. Your dentist will apply this material directly to the surface of your teeth, or in the case of a filling, to the inner chamber of your tooth.
Cosmetic Uses of Bonding
Your dentist may recommend bonding for a number of cosmetic functions. Bonding can be used to fill chips and cracks in the surface of teeth, close gaps between teeth, and mask severe discoloration. Porcelain veneers can also perform these functions, and your dentist may recommend bonding as an alternative to veneers if you are on a budget. It is important to note that while both bonding and veneers have a lifespan of five to ten years, veneers are more likely to reach the ten year mark. However, unlike porcelain veneers, which must be entirely replaced when something breaks or cracks, a dentist can typically repair damaged composite.
The lifespan of dental bonding varies for each person, and the longevity of your cosmetic enhancements will depend on your dental habits and the location of the material in your mouth. Of course, good hygiene and regular trips to the dentist are the most important ways to ensure long-lasting dental composite. In addition, if you regularly consume high-acid foods, such as citrus or soda, or if you grind your teeth, the dental bonding material will have a much shorter lifespan.
One of the most common uses of dental bonding is in natural looking tooth-colored fillings. Composite fillings are often a good alternative to metal amalgam fillings, which will begin to show through your teeth over time, giving your smile an unsightly gray tint. In contrast, your dentist can choose a composite filling that is a near-perfect match to your teeth, ensuring that your smile stays bright and looks natural for years to come. However, composite fillings typically do not last as long as amalgam fillings. One study, conducted in Finland in 2001, suggested that composite fillings have an average lifespan of five years, while amalgam fillings typically last for 12. However, many patients feel that the shorter lifespan of composite fillings are a small price to pay for a white and healthy looking smile.
Contact a Dentist
Although dental bonding is not as long-lasting as other treatments, in some cases it may be the best choice to help you maintain a beautiful smile. To learn more about dental bonding and to find out if it is the right choice for you, schedule an appointment with an experienced dentist.
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