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Dental Care Blog

Dental Bonding

Serving Sacramento, Modesto and Stockton, California


What is dental bonding?

Dental bonding involves a tooth-colored resin material (called a composite) that is applied to teeth, shaped, and then hardened with a special light, and polished. The light causes the composite to bond to the tooth, restoring and correcting the smile.

For what conditions is dental bonding recommended?

  • Decayed teeth
  • Chipped or cracked teeth
  • Discolored teeth
  • Teeth with gaps or spaces between them
  • Crowded teeth
  • Teeth which appear too short
  • Dental bonding can change the shape of teeth
  • Dental bonding can be used as a cosmetic alternative to amalgam fillings
  • Dental bonding can be used to protect any tooth's root that has been exposed when the gums recede

What’s the procedure for bonding like?

 Dental bonding requires very little advanced preparation. Anesthesia is often not necessary unless the bonding is being used to fill a decayed tooth.  This can be uncomfortable without getting numb. To get the most natural look possible, our doctors will select a composite color that will closely match the color of your tooth.

During the first step of the bonding procedure, the surface of the tooth will be roughened and a conditioning liquid applied. This helps the bonding material adhere to the tooth. The tooth-colored, putty-like composite is then applied, molded, and smoothed to the desired shape. An ultraviolet light is then used to harden the material. After the material is hardened, Dr. Bartolome will further trim and shape the resin, and polish it to match the sheen of the rest of the tooth surface. This takes about 30 to 60 minutes to complete, per tooth when only one shade and type of composite is used.  Unlike veneers and crowns, which must be manufactured in a laboratory, bonding usually can be done in one office visit depending on how many teeth are done.

For patients who want a more esthetic result than can be provided with one shade, multiple layers of different colors and strengths of composite have to be applied.  To achieve higher esthetics may take as long as 1 to 2 hours per tooth.  When this is done properly, you cannot differentiate between composite bonding and porcelain.  Bonding is a very useful cosmetic dental procedure.  It does, however, require much skill and experience to accomplish the best esthetic result.  Few dentists have taken the time to acquire this skill.  Dr. Swearingen is one that has extensive background in the art of using composite to restore teeth.

Bonding is most often used for small cosmetic changes, temporary correction of cosmetic defects, and for correction of teeth in areas of very low bite pressure, such as front teeth.  

Do bonded teeth require special care?

Teeth that have been bonded with composite hold up very well under normal conditions. Good oral hygiene practices are typically enough. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss at least once a day, and see Dr. Bartolome and Dr. Swearingen for regular professional check-ups and cleanings.  It should be noted that people who clench and grind their teeth put these restorations at risk, just as they do natural teeth and other types of restorations.  If you have this habit it is safest to wear a protective night guard to protect your restorations as well as your natural teeth.

However, bonding materials can chip when abused just as porcelain and natural teeth can. Avoid:

  • Biting your fingernails
  • Chewing on pens, ice, hard nuts, or other hard objects
  • Using your bonded teeth as a bottle opener or any other type of tool

If you notice any sharp edges on a bonded tooth, or if your bonded tooth feels odd when you bite down, call our office.

If you would like to learn more about dental bonding, please contact Dr. William Swearingen’s office in Citrus Heights, California today to schedule your initial consultation.




Email or call us to see how we can change your smile.

Michelle C. Bartolome D.M.D. William H. Swearingen D.D.S.


Cosmetic and General Dentistry
7916 Pebble Beach Drive
Citrus Heights, CA 95610