In the event that decay or staining results in discolored or disproportionate tooth shape and size, we have several options for you available at our office. One of these is called bonding and contouring. Bonding and contouring are services we offer – often in tandem – that help reshape uneven, chipped, or poorly aligned teeth. Reshaping or contouring involves removing enamel with a drill or laser, trimming misshaped area, and appropriately altering the shape of longer teeth. Bonding is a process involving the application of a resin substance to fill in shapes and improve your smile’s overall appearance.
What to Expect
When you visit our office for contouring and bonding, you can anticipate the following steps. As bonding and reshaping often go hand-in-hand, they may be done at the same time. Again, we start out with removing the enamel of a tooth with an appropriate tool, like a drill or a laser. Afterwards, we may x-ray the area and trim, shorten, or alter the shape of your teeth accordingly. Reshaping them allows for a better alignment and, subsequently, a more proper bite that will help avoid further issues in the future. Once they are shaped to satisfaction, they will be smoothed and polished. Contouring alone can take a roughly 30-minute appointment, depending on the severity of the changes needed.
Bonding, during reshaping, is a process that can fill in the gaps between teeth, add to the overall shape, and improve any discoloration. We may numb the area – to avoid causing any discomfort – before etching the tooth so that the putty-like resin will adhere well to the surface. A liquid called a conditioning liquid may also be coated on the tooth to further help the resin stay in place before it is applied and shaped. A specialized light is then shined on it to help it harden; the entirety of this process can take somewhere between 30 minutes to an hour. This, of course, is dependent upon how many teeth need to be taken care of.
Teeth that have gone through the contouring and bonding procedure require excellent care in order to maintain their healthier appearance. One of the cons of this option, again, is that teeth that have been bonded or contoured are most at risk, of all possible dental restoration options, of succumbing to chipping and staining. Habits such as fingernail chewing, pen biting, opening things with your teeth, smoking, and eating hard foods should be avoided. As always, it’s essential that you brush your teeth twice daily, floss, and avoid consuming foods and beverages that stain. Coffee, red wine, and tea should be minimized or worked out of your diet.
If you are considering contouring and bonding as a means of restoring the full strength of your smile, contact our office today! We can answer any questions or concerns you have about the process and discuss if it is right for you. Contouring and bonding is not the only option for restoring your teeth, however, so feel free to ask and talk with us about other potentials as well.