Minor issues with the size, shape, and color of your teeth can have major effects on the overall appearance of your smile. Chips, cracks, noticeable spaces, and more can often be corrected with dental bonding or contouring. These cosmetic procedures provide slight modifications of your tooth structure using a tooth-colored resin material that is adhered to your teeth to create your desired look and feel and restore your oral health.
If you have chipped, cracked or gapped teeth, contact our dentists at Stephens & Gatewood Dentistry in Houston at (281) 320-2000 to discuss your cosmetic dentistry options. Dr. Stephens and our experienced team of professionals serve clients in Spring, Conroe, The Woodlands, and surrounding areas of Houston, Texas.
What is Dental Bonding or Contouring?
The application of tooth-colored material is common practice in filling cavities instead of amalgam (silver) fillings, but it’s also used to correct chips, discoloration and other aesthetic concerns, which is known as dental bonding. Contouring is the light shaving of a small amount of the outer layer of your tooth to smooth sharp edges and rough areas of tooth enamel. These cosmetic procedures require very little tooth preparation and typically don’t need anesthesia. Once the material is applied to the tooth, our cosmetic dentists use a curing light to adhere the substance to your tooth.
While bonding and contouring are individual procedures, they are often performed together to affect a smile makeover without the need for more extensive tooth modification. Bonding/contouring may be right for you if you exhibit teeth with:
- Cosmetic cracks in your tooth enamel.
- Chipped edges that do not significantly weaken the tooth.
- Large spaces between teeth.
- Disproportionate sizes (too large or too small).
- Stubborn or internal discoloration.
Dental bonding and contouring are also used to shelter a tooth root that’s exposed due to gum recession.
How is Dental Bonding and Contouring Done?
There are two techniques of dental bonding: direct composite and adhesive bonding. Direct composite is when the tooth-colored compound is used to repair worn-down edges of your teeth as well filling cavities, fixing chips and cracks, and closing the gap between two teeth. The material is applied to the tooth surface and sculpted to create the shape, shade, and size you’re looking for, which can be called composite veneers, but is actually the practice of dental bonding.
The adhesive technique attaches a restoration to the tooth such as dental crowns, porcelain veneers, inlays/onlays, and bridges. Our dentists match the shade of the white material to match that of your adjacent teeth. Dr. Stephen’s will use a gentle solution to create a course tooth surface where the tooth-colored resin is applied, molded, and smoothed into your desired shape. It’s then hardened using a UV curing light. The process is repeated until we’ve achieved the best results and polished to mimic the natural shine of your other teeth.
There are several benefits to dental bonding and contouring including:
- Bonding can be done in just one visit to our Spring, Texas office.
- The results are comparable to veneers and crowns, but no enamel reduction is required.
- No anesthesia required.
There are some habits you may have to change such as biting fingernails and chewing pen caps because the composite material doesn’t have the strength of your natural teeth. Bonding and contouring are best used for small cosmetic changes.
You can care for your bonded or contoured teeth the same way you do for your real teeth—By brushing twice a day, flossing once a day (or at least three times a week), and maintaining regular dental exams and teeth cleanings. We recommend bi-annual visits at Stephens & Gatewood Dentistry.
If you have one or more small cosmetic issues that are dramatically affecting your smile’s appearance, then find out if cosmetic tooth bonding and/or contouring can improve them!
Contact one of our two locations in Spring (Cypresswood or Auburn Lakes) by calling (281) 320-2000 today. Our talented cosmetic dentists welcome patients throughout the nearby Texas communities, including The Woodlands, Conroe and more.