BONDING / FILLINGS
One of the most common aspects of restorative dental implants are fillings and bondings. Fillings are used to fill in cavities that have formed within a tooth, while bondings are used to repair chipped, decayed, or misshapen teeth. Bondings, while they can restore functionality, are often used in cosmetic dentistry as well.
When getting a filling, you will be given a local anesthetic to numb the area surrounding the tooth. Once numbed, a drill, air abrasion instrument, or laser will be used to remove any decayed portions of the tooth. We will probe the inside of the tooth and determine if all of the decayed portions need to be removed or just some of it. After all of the decay has been removed, the filling is added. If the decay is located around a root of the tooth, a composite resin or glass ionomer liner will be added to protect the root before adding the filling.
Types of Fillings
Fillings can be made from many different materials. The type of filling used can vary based on the severity of decay, the location, the cost of the filler, and your insurance coverage.
- Gold, silver amalgam – made from mercury, silver, tin, zinc, and copper, or porcelain
- Tooth-colored fillings – using plastic and composite resins, these tooth colored fillings must be applied one layer at a time and each layer must be “dried” using a special lamp to cure or harden it
- Glass ionomer fillings – similar to composite resins but contains glass particles
Bondings are primarily for reconstructing teeth, whether they have been damaged by decay, chipped / broken by accident, or are misaligned or misshapen. Bonding can also improve the look of discolored teeth, making it one of the favored categories for cosmetic dentistry in Houston.
Unless filling a decayed tooth, bondings usually do not require anesthesia. A shading guide will help us determine what composite will best match your teeth’s natural coloring. The tooth or teeth being bonded will be “roughed up,” meaning they will be altered to have grooves and pits, then conditioned. This process gives the composite a better hold on your teeth so that the bond will be strong. The resin is then applied and formed into the desired shape. Once shaped, we use an ultraviolet light to cure the resin, causing it to harden. Bonding generally takes about 30 to 60 minutes per tooth and is one of the least expensive dental procedures available, but it’s also not guaranteed to last as long as other restorative procedures like fillings, crowns, or veneers.