What is dental bonding?
Dental bonding is considered one of the most effective approaches to address minor dental issues such as chips and cracks. This procedure, often called tooth bonding, entails the application of a tooth-colored resin directly onto the affected tooth to repair the damage.
Topics covered on this page
- Cost of dental bonding
- Is the cost covered by insurance?
- Is dental bonding right for you?
- Treatment details
- When to expect results
- Dental bonding aftercare
- How long will results last?
- Alternatives to bonding
- Tips for choosing a dentist
The average cost of dental bonding ranges from $300 to $600 per tooth according to the American Dental Association (ADA). However, the cost of your dental bonding procedure can vary depending on several factors. Here are some key factors that influence cost:
- Your Dentist: The experience and reputation of your dentist can impact the cost. Highly skilled dentists often charge more for their services. It’s a good idea to check if your dentist is board-certified by the American Board of Dental Specialties.
- Location Matters: Where you get the procedure done can affect the cost. Dental services in cities with a higher cost of living typically charge more than in rural areas. To get an estimate for local prices, you can use resources like the Healthcare Blue Book, which is similar to Kelley Blue Book for estimating car prices.
- Number of Teeth: The cost will depend on how many teeth need treatment. The more teeth that need treatment, the higher the cost.
- Type of Materials: The quality of materials used can also impact the cost. Different dental practices may use different materials.
- Case Complexity: If your case is complex and requires advanced techniques and more time, it may be more expensive.
- Additional Treatments: In some situations, bonding is just one part of a broader treatment plan that includes other dental procedures which can increase the overall cost.
- Insurance: Dental bonding may be covered by insurance if it’s deemed necessary for functional reasons. However, this depends on your type of dental plan.
If you are considering dental bonding, schedule a consultation with an experienced dentist near you. This will allow you to discuss your goals and gain a better understanding of all the costs involved.
Dental insurance coverage for dental bonding can vary depending on your specific insurance plan and provider. In general, dental bonding is considered a cosmetic dental procedure rather than a medical necessity. As a result, some dental insurance plans may not provide coverage for purely cosmetic purposes.
However, when dental bonding becomes necessary for functional reasons such as fixing a chipped tooth or filling a cavity, there’s a possibility that it may be covered. In these situations, insurance plans designed to cover restorative or preventive procedures may offer partial or complete coverage.
Contact your insurance provider directly to get a better idea of coverage. They can provide you with specific details regarding whether dental bonding falls under your coverage and to what extent it is covered.
To learn more about the basics of dental insurance, visit National Association of Dental Plans (NADP).
Although dental bonding is a relatively simple and straightforward restorative or cosmetic solution for a variety of dental concerns, it may not be the best option for everyone. The best application for dental bonding includes:
- Fixing chipped/cracked teeth
- Improving the appearance of discolored teeth that cannot be fixed by teeth whitening treatments
- Lengthening teeth for cosmetic purposes
- Closing small gaps between teeth
- Reshaping teeth to improve smile aesthetics
- Protecting part of the tooth’s root that has been exposed due to receding gums or cavities
Dental bonding is also an alternative to traditional, silver-colored amalgam dental fillings.
One of the most important aspects of composite bonding is ensuring that the bond matches the natural color of your tooth. Your dentist will use a basic shade guide to find a color match for the composite resin.
Anesthesia is usually not required, unless the bonding is being used to fill a decayed tooth or cavity.
Once the correct color of composite resin is chosen, your dentist will prepare your tooth by applying a gentle acidic solution called an etchant. The etchant makes the surface of your tooth rough so that the composite resin attaches cleanly onto it.
The resin is applied in a putty-like form, then shaped and smoothed until your dentist achieves the desired look.
A curing light is then used to harden and complete the bond.
The entire procedure can be performed in under an hour per tooth, with results visible immediately after treatment. Your dentist will recommend you avoid certain food and drinks that may stain your teeth for a few days after the bond is placed. These include coffee, tea, red wine, etc. If you are a cigarette smoker, you should also avoid smoking during this period.
Although bonding is an affordable solution to a number of dental concerns, one of the cons is that it is not quite as durable as porcelain restorations. Composite resin is more susceptible to chips and cracks, meaning you should avoid hard, crunchy foods when possible.
Avoid chewing on hard objects as well, such as ice, pens, and your fingernails. You should also consider wearing a mouthguard when playing sports that could risk harm to your teeth, or if you grind your teeth as well.
Composite resin may also stain, so be wary about the amount of coffee, tea, red wine, and other staining drinks; using a straw may help protect your teeth. Smokers also face additional issues with staining and should consider quitting to protect their composite-bonded tooth/teeth.
If you take good care of your dental bonds, they can last between three to ten years before needing a touch up or replacement. Continue to practice good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing and visit your dentist annually to ensure the bond is still holding well.
Dental bonding offers a cheap and easy way to fix cracks and chips in teeth; however, there are more options that may be used as well.
Dental Veneers – Veneers are ultra-thin shells made of composite resin or porcelain that are placed over the natural tooth. These are also designed to address chips and cracks, tooth discoloration, and spacing issues. Porcelain veneers resist staining better than composite resin bonding, look natural, and are long-lasting (between 10-15 years). Veneers are more expensive than dental bonds, ranging from $300-$1,500 per tooth for composite resin, and $900-$2,500 for porcelain.
Dental Crowns – If your teeth cannot be fixed using a dental bond, then dental caps & crowns may be the solution for you. These are used if you have a cavity that cannot be filled due to lack of remaining tooth structure, a weakened tooth that needs support, or if your tooth is discolored or misshapen. Dental crowns requires your teeth be prepared by grinding them down for the cap to fit on top. Crowns are custom fit and fabricated in dental labs outside of your dentist’s office, so the process takes longer than dental bonding. Depending on the material used, dental crowns can cost between $800-$3,000.
It is important to carefully select your dentist. The dentist you choose can significantly impact your treatment outcome and overall satisfaction. Find a dentist with extensive experience in performing dental bonding procedures. Also, find a dentist that is affiliated with one or more of the following organizations:
- American Board of Dental Specialties
- American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry
- American Dental Association
- Academy of General Dentistry
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