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How Long Does Tooth Bonding Last

by Lyndon Langley
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How Long Does Tooth Bonding Last

How Long Does Tooth Bonding Last

Tooth-colored fillings are a relatively new innovation in cosmetic dentistry that have become increasingly popular over the past few decades. They’re used primarily as an alternative to white filling materials like composite resin (also known as tooth-colored or porcelain) and silver amalgam — both of which have been around since ancient times.

Today’s most common type of dental bonding is called “tooth colored,” also sometimes referred to as “enamel colored” because it’s made from a special polymer called resins. These restorations can be permanent if they’re applied correctly by a certified dentist with experience using the procedure. However, there are some risks associated with this technique, including chipping or cracking that could lead to infection.

When you see your dentist about replacing a missing front tooth, he’ll probably want to discuss all your options with you. He’ll likely ask how long you think the bond will last and whether you’d prefer something more durable, such as a crown, bridge or implant. It depends largely on what kind of lifestyle you lead and your budget. But generally speaking, tooth-colored bonds should last between three and 10 years before needing replacement.

The longevity of these restorations varies greatly among patients based on their individual lifestyles. Some people eat very tough foods, such as steak and cheese; others munch on popcorn and cookies. Certain activities, such as chewing tobacco, sports, and drinking alcohol, can weaken the strength of the bond. If you regularly use acidic products, such as citrus fruit juice, mouthwash or certain types of food, then your enamel might erode faster than normal.

As we mentioned earlier, teeth-colored bonds can chip or crack over time. Most often, these imperfections occur within the first year after placement. In fact, one study found that up to 60 percent of bonded teeth cracked during the first six months [source American Association of Orthodontists]. Other factors that affect durability include improper application and repeated exposure to moisture, such as when biting down on a sandwich while swimming.
Fortunately, cracks don’t always mean having to replace the entire restoration. You can repair them yourself at home without involving your dentist. Read on to find out what steps to take.

Repairing Dental Bond Cracks
If you notice a small fracture in your tooth-colored restoration, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to schedule another appointment right away. First, try applying a little clear nail polish to the damaged area. The acetone in the nail polish loosens any loose particles that may be causing the problem, and it also helps prevent bacteria from entering into the crack. Afterward, apply a tiny dab of bonding adhesive and gently press it onto the surface until it has dried completely. Then carefully smooth out the edges so they blend seamlessly with the surrounding enamel. Finally, reapply the layer of bonding agent once again and wait 15 minutes to let it fully dry. When finished, lightly rub off the excess bonding compound with a damp cloth.

Although repairing minor chips and fractures isn’t difficult, you must exercise caution when doing so. Never use your fingernail to pry open a crack, and avoid putting anything sharp underneath the affected area. Also make sure not to bite down too hard on something else, as this can damage the restored tooth even further.

While repairs typically work well, they won’t hold up forever. Because the underlying structure of the tooth hasn’t changed, the repaired section will eventually deteriorate just like the original enamel did. Eventually, you may decide you want to replace a damaged tooth with a new restoration. Keep reading to learn about what happens next.

You’ve completed your daily brushing and flossing routine, but your gums still look inflamed. What gives? Gingivitis occurs when tissue grows beyond the gum line, forming pockets between the gums and the roots of our teeth. As the tissues grow, the body sends blood vessels through to supply needed nutrients. Unfortunately, as those vessels get closer to the root of the tooth, they inadvertently form a pocket that traps plaque — the sticky film of mucus, proteins and sugars that coat the teeth and mix together to form tartar. Over time, the bacteria multiply and create inflammation that irritates and weakens the gums. Untreated gingivitis can eventually result in bleeding and pain, bone loss and cavities.

Preventing Gum Disease
Gum disease is caused by several different conditions, including poor oral hygiene, smoking, diabetes and periodontal diseases. While proper dental care can help keep gingivitis under control, it’s important to know that there are many different causes of gum disease. To reduce your risk, brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss once every hour. Be careful not to scrub too harshly, as gentle rubbing promotes healthy tissue growth. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush, and rinse thoroughly after each meal. Brushing alone isn’t enough, however. Good oral hygiene requires regular visits to the dentist to clean and file your teeth properly. Make sure to visit your dentist at least twice per year, or whenever you begin noticing symptoms of gum problems. Early detection is key to preventing serious complications.

Your dentist may recommend surgery to treat advanced cases of severe gum disease, particularly if he suspects you suffer from a condition like diabetes. There are two main surgical procedures available: flap surgery and guided tissue regeneration. During a flap surgery, the surgeon removes some gum tissue, cleans out debris and stitches the wound closed. A guided tissue regeneration involves removing less tissue and allowing natural gum tissue to regrow. Both methods require multiple office visits and involve lengthy recovery periods. Your dentist can provide you with information regarding the type of procedure best suited to your particular situation.

Read on to discover how much longer tooth-colored bonding actually lasts.

Aging naturally results in gradual changes in appearance. One of the most noticeable effects is a decrease in skin elasticity, which leads to sagging skin and wrinkles. People who wear orthodontic braces can develop similar issues due to prolonged pressure on the face. Fortunately, modern cosmetics offer solutions. Many anti-aging creams contain collagen, a protein in connective tissues that provides support for the outermost layer of skin. Collagen increases as you age, so it makes sense that it would play a role in reducing wrinkling.

Does Tooth-Colored Bonding Last Any Longer Than White Fillings?
Yes! Although the short answer is yes, there are some caveats. Just like any other dental restoration, tooth-colored fillings will eventually wear down and show signs of decay. Unlike traditional metal fillings, however, tooth-colored ones aren’t susceptible to stains, discoloration or tarnish. And unlike some kinds of plastic, they won’t turn yellow or brittle over time. These qualities make them attractive alternatives to traditional fillers, but they do come at a price: tooth-colors are more expensive than conventional fillers. On average, they cost 20 percent more than standard white fillings.

Because they rely on the healthiness of your own teeth, tooth-colored bonds can only stay in place as long as your natural enamel keeps its structural integrity. That means no eating junk food, hitting the sauce or getting caught chewing tobacco. If you smoke, quit immediately. Otherwise, the bond may end up looking like a black hole in your smile.

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