Composite bonding is one of the most versatile cosmetic treatments available today. This tooth-coloured resin can fill decay-damaged teeth, cover chips in teeth, hide stains and even close gaps between teeth. However, despite its versatility, composite resin may only last up to 10 years and is often used by patients as a temporary measure due to it being weaker and more prone to staining than porcelain treatments like veneers or crowns.
If your bonding has become stained or is beginning to show signs of wear and tear, you may be wondering if it is now possible to remove it without damaging your teeth. The good news is that unlike veneers, which require the removal of at least .3mm of enamel, composite bonding doesn't require any enamel to be removed at all. However, depending on your reasons for getting bonding, a tiny amount of enamel may be lost during its removal.
Composite Veneers Do Not Require Enamel Removal
Although weaker than porcelain veneers, with a shorter expected lifespan, composite veneers generally do not require any enamel to be removed when being placed. This is because a skilled dentist can mould and polish a thin layer of paste onto natural tooth structure without removing any enamel. Porcelain veneers on the other hand, consist of thin shells that may leave teeth looking bulky if sufficient enamel is not removed before placement.
Despite that, whatever the reason for its placement, a tiny amount of enamel may be lost when bonding is removed from the surface of a tooth. This is mainly due to the need to use air abrasion to remove microscopic traces of bonding on the tooth surface. The amount of enamel removed, as mentioned already, is minute.
When a Tooth is Intact, no Enamel is Removed
If your dentist used composite bonding to close a gap either before or after orthodontic treatment for example, when it comes to removal, the result will be much the same as with composite veneers. A minute amount of enamel will be removed.
Broken or Chipped Teeth Require Enamel Removal
The only situation that might call for the removal of enamel is when composite bonding is used to repair a chipped or broken tooth. However, this decision depends entirely upon the dentist in question. In this case, a small amount of enamel might be removed to give the tooth a more desirable shape and to match the composite resin with the natural tooth structure for the sake of aesthetics.
If your composite bonding restoration is old and in need of repair, or you would like to explore another type of restoration, you can rest assured that only a microscopic amount of enamel will be lost during its removal.