What is composite bonding and why is it becoming so popular?
In the age of Love Island and beautifying filters, cosmetic dental treatments are becoming more popular than ever.
People want their teeth to be straighter and whiter than ever before and there’s a treatment which is growing in popularity due to its non-invasive and speedy qualities.
Composite bonding is fast-becoming a popular choice for people looking for a quick fix to straighter and more even teeth – without the need for braces.
The question is, have you ever heard of it?
Cosmetic dentist Dr Kamala Aydazada tells Metro.co.uk: ‘It’s mostly used for cosmetic purposes and mostly to improve the shape and appearance of the teeth.
‘It’s become popular these days because it’s less invasive, so it’s an alternative to porcelain veneers and it’s less costly too.
‘It’s very instant as well and people like things which are very easy to do.
‘There’s no pain, there’s no drill, there are no injections and it’s very safe and there’s no need to remove your enamel – what’s not to like, right?’
How does composite bonding work?
‘Composite bonding is a restoration on the tooth which is applied by adding a thin layer of resin material on the surface of the enamel,’ explains Dr Kama.
‘The good thing is that it gets attached to your enamel, it gets “bonded” to the enamel – which is why it’s called composite bonding. Composite means the resin – which is the type of the material used – and then we sculpt it around your tooth and teeth structures.
‘Nowadays, the technology has improved a lot so the composite bonding quality has improved with it and it looks really similar to your enamel.
‘It catches the light in the same way, it has characteristics very similar to your enamel and therefore it looks really natural on top of your tooth. It doesn’t stand out.’
Essentially, a dentist will bond this composite over the top of your existing teeth, so there’s no damage to existing enamel. They will then work to sculpt and shape this resin to match the rest of your teeth to provide a more even appearance.
She adds: ‘It’s very easy, it’s just one appointment and we sculpt your teeth, we adjust them, we make them more even. It’s a really lovely transformation and I love the faces of my patients when – after just a few hours of treatment – they walk out with a completely different smile.’
Who is composite bonding best for?
Composite bonding is a great option for those who have uneven, crowded or spaced out teeth as it can make them look visually straighter and more aligned, without the need for braces.
Typically, cosmetic dentists will work on two, four, six, eight or ten teeth for composite bonding. But in some unique cases if you have one wonky tooth it can work for that as well.
Dr Kamala Aydazada says: ‘Most commonly we would do the upper six front teeth which are more visible – that is the most common number that we do.
‘This is because when you get older you grind your teeth more and more and, because they get shorter and shorter with time, you want to get that enamel back to the teeth – so it’s common that the front six upper or lower are treated.’
Usually, a whitening treatment would be carried out beforehand so the patient gets to their desired colour and then composite is added on top.
Dr Kamala Aydazada says that a two hour appointment is usually enough time for those getting 4-6 teeth done. So one appointment is really all it takes.
What’s the difference between composite bonding and veneers?
Dr Kamala Aydazada explains that every case is completely different, so composite bonding might not be the best option for everyone.
She says: ‘Composite bonding is good if you need to repair a little part of the tooth or a part of the enamel. But if your tooth structure isn’t as great or your teeth whitening didn’t work, or for wider areas if you need to treat more structures, porcelain veneers are more superior to composite bonding.
‘But composite bonding is a good option for those who want small improvements and enhancements.’
Composite bonding is less invasive as it involves composite being fixed on top of existing teeth (leaving them untouched underneath) and is a quicker option. However, composite bonding does not last as long as veneers, so this is worth considering as well.
How much does it cost?
Dr Kamala says prices start from £350 per tooth, depending on the complexity.
What maintenance is needed?
The main thing to remember with composite bonding is to get it polished every six months or so. This polish isn’t the same as a dental clean or hygienist appointment so it will need to be booked separately to those.
Dr Kamala suggests booking it at the same time as your hygienist appointment every six months, to remember to get it done.
She adds: ‘Once every six months we always recommend having them polished just to bring that shine back to it and that’s due to the material itself. It’s a composite resin and no matter how good it is – I’m working with some of the best at the moment – it will get dull with time.’
Another thing to note is changes to the colour of your teeth, which happens with everyday staining.
She says: ‘You just need to watch out for the colour of your teeth if you’ve done teeth whitening (which is quite a common cosmetic path that patients go down).
‘We do that because we want everything to match together to the nice colour. But over time teeth will start staining a bit and the bonding will stay the same colour. So the maintenance required will be to have teeth whitening from time to time, to maintain that shade.’
Dr Kamala advises a top-up of whitening when you notice that staining is setting in – this will help your teeth match the composite.
How long does composite bonding last?
Dr Kamala says: ‘It lasts around 5-10 years – I would say 6-7 years is the average. If you look after it, polish it every six months, keep it clean then it could last even longer than that.
‘But, if your hygiene isn’t that good and if you have habitual grinding, then obviously they will chip and crack more over time and they won’t last as well.
‘Every case needs to be assessed separately and when we see the patient we say in their case this may last only a couple of years because they grind.’
While composite bonding doesn’t last forever, it can be easily changed or tweaked when it starts to look a little dull.
She adds: ‘A dentist can just repair it if you need it, it’s not something big it’s just part of the old surface – polished and redone a little bit.
‘Therefore it’s really simple, you just remove some of the surface and add another layer which can be whiter or smoother as a repair.’
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