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Dental Bonding to Fix a Chipped Tooth

A tooth getting bonding done on a blue background.

Dental bonding is a non-invasive dental procedure that uses tooth-colored resin to correct cosmetic issues. It can be a fast, affordable, and effective way to fix a chipped or damaged tooth that doesn’t require any enamel removal or reshaping of the natural tooth. 

Dental bonding can also be used to correct:

  • Uneven spacing or gaps between teeth
  • Teeth that are smaller or shorter than their adjacent teeth
  • Discolorations or stains that don’t respond to professional whitening
  • Misshapen teeth
  • Sharp or jagged edges of teeth

Drs. Kristen Campbell and Donna Sparks of Norman Smile Center have advanced knowledge and skill in the application of dental bonding for cosmetic and restorative purposes. For more than 30 years, they and the team of experienced dental professionals at Norman Smile Center have been helping patients in and around the Norman, Oklahoma, area discover their most beautiful smile with affordable cosmetic and restorative dental services that deliver stunning results. Using composite resin and a Bioclear Matrix, along with experience in dental aesthetics and application techniques, the dentists at Norman Smile Center can use dental bonding to give you a natural-looking smile you can’t wait to show off.

Dealing with a Damaged or Chipped Tooth

The enamel on your teeth may be one of the hardest materials in your body, but it can’t always keep you from chipping or damaging a tooth. 

Every year, millions of people chip or damage a tooth by:

  • Biting down on something hard (ice, peanut brittle, hard candy)
  • Using teeth for purposes besides chewing (opening packages, bottles, etc.)
  • Getting hit in the mouth or face with something hard
  • Not using a mouthguard when playing contact sports
  • Falling
  • Injury from accident
  • Decay or cavities that weaken the tooth
  • Old amalgam fillings that aren’t supporting the remaining enamel of the tooth
  • Grinding their teeth

While some damage is obvious, such as a broken piece of tooth or a large crack, most damage is small and nearly invisible, especially if it occurs in the back teeth. If you feel pain when biting down or eating or a constant, dull ache in a tooth, you may have cracked or chipped a tooth. A dentist can use special lights, tools, and x-rays to identify any damage to the exterior of the tooth as well as any damage to the internal structure.

Even if you can’t see or feel a chipped tooth or if it isn’t affecting your smile or your eating, it still needs to be fixed. A broken tooth is more susceptible to everything from decay and cavities to an infection deep inside the tooth because damaged enamel on the outside of the tooth provides an opportunity for bacteria to enter the dental pulp.

Decayed or infected teeth then pose their own problem. As the condition worsens, the strength and integrity of the tooth become compromised, and now the tooth is at risk for further damage, deterioration, and infection that spreads to the gum and jawbone. The tooth may also end up falling out completely. This is why it’s important to fix a damaged or chipped tooth as soon as possible to avoid more expensive and extensive treatments.

Dental Bonding to Repair a Damaged or Chipped Tooth

There are a variety of methods for repairing a damaged or chipped tooth, such as dental fillings, dental crowns, veneers, and onlays. The one that is best for you will depend on a variety of factors such as the severity and location of the damage, the type of tooth that is damaged, if there is any infection or deterioration, your financial considerations, your smile restoration goals, and if there are any other concurrent issues that will need to be addressed.

Dental bonding is best for visible cracks or chips. The dentist applies a tooth-colored resin to the surface of the tooth, then smooths and reshapes it over the damaged surface to protect the tooth from further damage and help it blend in seamlessly with the rest of the tooth and adjacent teeth.

Dental bonding can usually be performed right in the dentist’s office in one 30-60 minute appointment, depending on the number of teeth you need treated and the severity of the damage.

Here’s what a dental bonding procedure looks like:

  1. The dentist will select a color of resin that looks natural and helps the bonded tooth blend in with your other teeth.
  2. The dentist will “etch” the enamel of the treated tooth, a process that roughens the tooth’s enamel so the resin can adhere better to the surface.
  3. The putty-like resin is shaped and pressed onto the tooth, then reshaped as necessary.
  4. The resin is hardened with a special UV light, then smoothed to remove any sharp or rough edges.
  5. The resin is polished to help it blend in seamlessly with the adjacent natural teeth.

Bonded teeth look just like natural teeth and should be cared for just like your natural teeth with good oral hygiene like daily brushing and flossing as well as twice-yearly cleanings and checkups. With proper care, dental bonding can last up to 10 years or more.

Bonding resin is not as strong as natural tooth enamel, but many of the things you can do to prevent damage are the same things you should limit or avoid to protect your natural teeth. For example, if you grind or clench your teeth at night, you can protect both your restoration and your other teeth by wearing a night guard. 

You should also limit or avoid:

  • Opening, breaking, or cracking things with your teeth.
  • Metal straws.
  • Chewing on plastic.
  • Crunching hard candy or ice cubes.
  • Teeth whitening treatments. Teeth whitening will not change the color of the bond’s resin and may make the resin stand out more against your natural teeth.
  • Dark and/or acidic beverages like coffee or red wine that can stain the resin material.

The Benefits of Dental Bonding to Repair a Chipped or Damaged Tooth

Dental bonding is an ideal solution for an array of minor cosmetic dental issues. While it can’t be used to correct teeth with structural problems—such as those with severe decay, infection, misalignment, or significant damage—dental bonding can be an effective and affordable alternative to veneers, crowns, or even professional whitening.

Dental bonding can be an effective and affordable solution if:

  • Unevenly spaced
  • Smaller or shorter than their adjacent teeth
  • Misshapen
  • Discolored or stained and don’t respond to whitening
  • Cracked or chipped
  • Jagged along the edge

In addition, dental bonding:

  • Can be done right in your dentist’s office, usually in one appointment.
  • Doesn’t have any side effects.
  • Is usually appropriate for patients of all ages.
  • Is less expensive than other cosmetic procedures.
  • Can fix even stubborn stains and discoloration that whitening cannot.
  • Does not require any enamel removal or reshaping of the natural tooth.
  • Rarely requires more than a local numbing agent.
  • Is durable with proper oral care
  • Looks and feels just like your natural teeth

Take Care of Your Chipped or Damaged Tooth with Dental Bonding from Norman Smile Center

Dental bonding can correct a range of irregularities, flaws, or damage in your teeth so that you can have a smile you love to see in the mirror. At Norman Smile Center, our dentists have extensive training and experience in cosmetic dentistry procedures like dental bonding and can make sure that no matter what your smile goals are, the results are natural, not noticeable.If you have a chipped or damaged tooth, don’t wait for more damage to occur. Schedule an appointment with Norman Smile Center today to find out if dental bonding is right for you so you can protect your dental health for years to come.