Adhesive dentistry involves something being bonded onto the tooth so it adheres to the tooth's surface. But this doesn't technically include cosmetic dental procedures such as dental veneers or crowns, where porcelain restorations are directly bonded onto the tooth. Adhesive dentistry is also called dental bonding, and it's an efficient form of cosmetic dentistry that can correct a range of problems—simply by covering them up with a layer of resin.
Why is dental bonding so efficient? From a patient's point of view, the simplicity of applying the material to your tooth is a considerable plus. Teeth must often be etched to allow the bonding material to adhere, but this just involves your dentist applying an etching solution to the tooth's surface. Once the tooth has been etched, the bonding material is added to the tooth's surface.
The bonding material itself is dental resin. This long-lasting plastic compound is the same colour as your teeth. It's spread across the tooth's surface, sculpted into shape as needed, and then your dentist shines a special blue light onto the resin. This immediately cures (dries) the restored surface of the tooth. The resin can then be polished so that it resembles the texture of your natural dental enamel, meaning it will look just like the teeth that surround it. Seemingly complex dental concerns can be corrected (concealed) in a single appointment with practically no preparation required.
Many dental concerns are less complex than they seem. You may have a tooth that's irregularly shaped when compared to its neighbours. Perhaps the tooth has experienced trauma to its nerve that caused internal staining (which no amount of teeth whitening will remove). It could even be that your teeth are unevenly spaced. Adhesive dentistry can conceal non-removable defects, and can even reshape the tooth's overall surface—increasing the size of the tooth to cover any irregularities or uneven spaces between teeth.
Aftercare And Outlook
Perhaps you've been delaying dental treatment for your cosmetic concerns because you thought more extensive treatment would be mandatory—an overhaul instead of an adjustment. Dental bonding can conceal a myriad of cosmetic imperfections with surprising efficiency, but you need to be practical with your new restorations. Remember that resin may experience discolouration, and failure to maintain a high level of oral hygiene can lead to permanent yellow bonding work, which will need replacement. Replacement will eventually be unavoidable, although you can expect your bonding to last from three to ten years.
Not everyone is a suitable candidate for dental bonding, and teeth that have extensive decay may not qualify. But when your problem is cosmetic, adhesive dentistry offers a quick, comprehensive and relatively inexpensive way to give your teeth a makeover.