Dental Bonding: How It Can Improve Your Smile

Dental bonding can be an excellent option when you want to improve your smile!

By: Dr. David Rice

When it comes to improving your smile, dental bonding is more popular today than it has ever been.

Why? The beauty of bonding materials has radically improved over the last decade.

It allows your dentist to remove less of your natural tooth than porcelain crowns or veneers.

Your treatment can almost always be completed in one visit making it very convenient.

What is Dental Bonding?

Dental bonding is a cosmetic dental procedure using tooth-colored composite resin material to repair or improve the appearance of teeth.

The material is applied to the tooth, and then sculpted, shaped, and polished to match the surrounding teeth.

The bonding material is then hardened with special lighting, which causes it to bond with the tooth and become a permanent part of the tooth structure.


1. Appearance of Your Smile

If you are not happy with your smile, dental bonding can help to improve your appearance by correcting teeth that are chipped, cracked, stained, or misshapen, helping you achieve a more aesthetically pleasing smile.

2. Cost-Effective

Dental bonding is a relatively inexpensive cosmetic dental procedure, making it a popular choice for people who want to improve their smile without breaking the bank.

3. Non-Invasive

Another great benefit of dental bonding is that it is a pretty non-invasive dental procedure that doesn’t require any drilling or removal of tooth structure.

4. Easy & Non-Time Consuming

For those who have dental office anxiety, a huge benefit is that it is a quick and easy dental procedure that can be completed in just one visit to the dentist.

Are You Ready for Dental Bonding?

Let’s look at the top questions you need answers to before you have dental bonding:

1. Are your gums healthy enough?

I know-I know-you want a nice smile. Why is the dentist raining on your parade? Here’s why.

There are two major components to your smile.

  • One is what you’re thinking. Your teeth. And yes, dental bonding can change their shape, color, and everything you’re thinking.
  • But, the second part of your smile is your gum tissue.

Think about your favorite family photo. Maybe it’s on a wall. Maybe it’s on your desk.

Now imagine you took that beautiful photo out of the beautiful frame and you put it in a broken frame. When your gum tissue is broken. Meaning they are puffy or swollen; bleed when you brush or they are shiny bright red, no matter how straight and white a dentist makes your teeth, your smile isn’t going to look nice.

On top of that, what your dentist knows is if your gums bleed easily, they’ll never get your bonding to last. Dental bonding materials fail when your dentist is unable to keep your teeth dry as they apply them. Things like blood and excess saliva are a no-no.

2. Are your teeth cavity-free?

Here’s the good news. Your teeth do not need to be cavity-free. They just need to have the cavities fixed before, or as it is applied. Dental bonding only sticks to the healthy tooth structure. It does not stick to cavities.

Here’s the bad news. If your cavities are too big, dental bonding may only be a short-term solution for you. If your cavities make up more than one-third of your teeth receiving the bonding, you will eventually need crowns or your teeth will break. And broken teeth in the front of our mouths are always, very noticeable.

3. Are your teeth as white as you want?

This is something to really think about before you choose to have dental bonding applied. Dentists can readily change the color of your natural teeth.

Dental bonding, however, does not whiten. So, if you’ve ever questioned how dark or light your teeth are, your safest bet is to whiten them at least 2 weeks prior to your appointment.

I can’t tell you how many patients I have helped over the last twenty-eight years who wish they had whitened their teeth prior to dental bonding. You do not want to invest your time and money in creating a beautiful smile only to wish it were whiter after the fact. It means starting again. That’s not fun.

4. Do you understand how long it will last?

Dental bonding can last over a decade. How long over a decade depends on several factors.

  • First is how well you brush and floss.
  • Second is how prone you are to cavities even when you do brush and floss regularly.
  • Third is your diet. Biting into hard foods or things like ice will dramatically shorten the longevity of the material.

Knowing that, you need to know, there are longer-term solutions. Porcelain veneers and/or crowns can last up to twice as long.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is dental bonding painful?

No, it is not painful. It’s a non-invasive dental procedure that doesn’t require any drilling or removal of tooth structure.

How long does dental bonding last?

The lifespan can vary depending on several factors, such as the location of the bonding and how well the patient takes care of their teeth. On average, it can last between 3 and 10 years.

Can I eat and drink normally after dental bonding?

Yes, you can eat and drink normally after the procedure. However, it’s important to avoid biting down on hard objects, as this can damage the bonding material.

Are You Ready for a Great Smile?

In closing, dental bonding can be an excellent option when you want to improve your smile.

Dentists can change the color and shape of your teeth.

What’s key, is your understanding of how to get your gums and teeth healthy first so your dental bonding lasts as long as possible.

Ask your favorite dentist, hygienist, or dental assistant if you’re a great candidate for dental bonding.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska

David Rice

David Rice

Founder of the nation’s largest student and new-dentist community, igniteDDS, David R. Rice, DDS, travels the world speaking, writing, and connecting today’s top young dentists with tomorrow’s most successful dental practices. He is the editorial director of DentistryIQ and leads a team-centered restorative and implant practice in East Amherst, New York. With 27 years of practice in the books, Dr. Rice is trained at the Pankey Institute, the Dawson Academy, Spear Education, and most prolifically at the school of hard knocks.