If you have broken, chipped, discolored, or crooked teeth, dental bonding may be able to improve the appearance of your teeth and strengthen them. But many people struggle to afford even basic dental care and think that procedures like dental bonding are out of reach for them financially.
Dental bonding can be expensive but some dental insurance plans may pay for part of the bonding cost which can make it more affordable. If you have dental insurance that helps pay for bonding you could wind up only paying a small copay to get your teeth bonded.
How much does dental bonding cost?
Dental bonding costs varies depending on how many teeth you want to have bonded, how experienced your dentist is, and whether your dental insurance will pay for a portion of the bonding. In general, you can expect dental bonding cost to range between $100 to $4001 per tooth.
Will dental insurance cover dental bonding?
Whether or not your dental insurance will cover the cost of dental bonding depends on several factors. Dental bonding that is cosmetic, like having a gap filled, may not be covered by insurance. Dental insurance may cover a portion of dental bonding if the bonding is necessary for the health of your teeth. For example, if you want to have bonding done because you have a chipped or broken tooth, your insurance company may pay a portion of that cost because it’s considered necessary to keep your tooth from cracking or breaking further and causing you to need more extensive dental work. The best way to know if your dental insurance covers dental bonding is to contact your insurance company.
What is dental bonding?
Dental bonding is a procedure where the dentist will use a hard resin to cover your existing tooth. That resin will be shaped and shaded to look like your natural teeth. Bonding can fix a lot of dental problems and make your teeth look straighter and cover up gaps, chips, cracks, and other unsightly tooth problems.
When the dentist is bonding your teeth, they will place a little bit of film around a tooth to protect it, then they will remove a thin layer of the enamel from your tooth to give the resin something to stick too. Then the dentist will layer the resin, shaping it and trimming to make sure it looks natural.
Bonding will essentially create a cover made of thin layers on your tooth that will restore the appearance of the tooth. Bonding can also help strengthen teeth and add some stability to the tooth by bonding it to the teeth around it. Bonding is a popular procedure because it can quickly improve the appearance of a broke or chipped tooth.The procedure is relatively easy and usually can be done in just one visit to the dentist.
Who needs dental bonding?
Bonding is a very effective fix for broken or chipped teeth that will make your teeth look good again while preventing further damage to the tooth. However, bonding is used to do a lot more than just fix broken and chipped teeth. Bonding is also used to do things like:
- Repair decayed teeth: The resin that is used to build up the tooth can also be used to fill in cavities and prevent further tooth decay in the tooth.
- Improve the look of teeth that are discolored or yellow: This doesn’t work if your teeth are discolored just because you haven’t been brushing well enough or often enough. But if your teeth are discolored because you took certain medications as a child or because of other factors beyond your control, bonding can help give you a nice white smile. The resin can be colored to match your existing teeth so that when the bonding is complete it’s impossible to tell that the bonded tooth is different from the other teeth.
- Close spaces or gaps between your teeth: If you are insecure about a gap in your teeth and want it closed, or if you have a gap in other teeth that you want to get rid of bonding can be used to hide gaps. When bonding is done to hide a gap, especially a large gap, the resin is built up and is attached to the teeth on other side of the gap so that it fits securely and won’t move. Bonding isn’t a replacement for braces or aligners, but if your teeth are otherwise straight and just have a gap that needs to be fixed, bonding may help.
- Make your teeth look longer: If you grind your teeth or have had other conditions that have ground your teeth down or made them shorter than normal dental bonding will make them look longer and restore the appearance of your smile.
- Fix the shape of crooked or misshapen teeth: As people get older their teeth can become worn down and crooked due to overcrowding in the mouth, accidents, genetics, and other factors. One of the most commonly misshapen teeth is often referred to as a “snaggletooth” because the tooth becomes rounded on the side but pointed at the bottom. Bonding can help the tooth match all of your other teeth so that it doesn’t stand out.
- Provide an alternative to amalgam fillings: Amalgam fillings are silver colored and made from metal which can give someone people headaches if they’re sensitive to metals. A resin filling made from the resin used to fuse a bonded front to a tooth can be a safe alternative for people that are sensitive to silver.
- Protect the root of a tooth: Receding gums can cause a lot of pain. As the gum recedes back further it can expose the root of your tooth. Quick drying bonding can solve that problem in the time it takes for the resin to harden.
Advantages of dental bonding
Dental bonding isn’t the only way to fix chipped teeth and other dental problems, but bonding does have some significant advantages. One of the biggest advantages is that it can be done quickly in just one or two appointments and the results are immediate. Some of the other advantages include:
- Leaves more tooth enamel intact: Bonding doesn’t require the dentist to remove a lot of the surface enamel of the tooth for the bonding to be secure. That means that your natural tooth will be less sensitive and healthier.
- Durable, lasting material: The resin used to bond to the tooth during the dental bonding procedure is durable and can last for a long time.
- Bonding materials can be molded and color matched to adjacent teeth: Bonding resin can be shaded and shaped to match your existing teeth for a natural looking smile
- Can be altered later: Since bonding isn’t permanent, you can have the shape or color of the bonding changed in the future so that it still matches your natural teeth. You also can have more permanent but more expensive fixes done later.
Disadvantages of dental bonding
- Not permanent: Dental bonding is not permanent, so it’s not going to be a long-term solution to your dental problems. The underlying problems that caused you to want to get dental bonding in the first place will still need to be addressed. Dental bonding will buy you some time to get ready for more permanent fixes like root canals and crowns or even implants but ultimately you will need to have major issues corrected.
- The resin or enamel can stain: Over time resin and enamel can become stained by things like smoking, eating and drinking foods that normally stain your teeth. Once they become stained, there’s really no way to remove those stains. other than having the bonding redone.
- The bonded front can break or chip: Chips and cracks or breakage can occur with a bonded tooth the same way that it could happen with a natural tooth. It’s rare for breakage to occur because of the strength of the resin but it’s possible for chips and breaks to happen. If the bonding that you’ve done breaks or cracks, your dentist will need to fix it for you.
Dental bonding vs. veneers
Veneers are another option that work in a similar way to bonding. The biggest difference between veneers and bonding is that while a dentist uses thin layers of resin to create volume that can be trimmed and shaped on teeth, veneers are actual thin layers of porcelain that are made to look like teeth and are affixed directly onto the tooth with a similar resin.
Veneers must be custom fitted for your teeth, so getting veneers can take several dental appointments and you will need to have custom veneers made for your teeth. The thin porcelain fronts will be shaped and shaded to exactly match the rest of your teeth. To get veneers, you will have to start with a dental appointment where the dentist makes an exact mold of your mouth and teeth. That mold is then sent to a lab where the porcelain fronts will be made to custom fit your mouth. Then your dentist will attach the porcelain veneers to your teeth and use a special light to harden the resin that will hold them in place.
Veneers will usually last longer than dental bonding but they serve the same purpose as bonding. Veneers can more expensive than dental bonding because they are custom made.
Getting the treatment you need
Dental bonding help fix broken, chipped, discolored, or crooked teeth. If you want to improve your smile, talk to your dentist about dental bonding and enroll in dental insurance to help you cover the costs.
This is not dental care advice and should not be substituted for regular consultation with your dentist. If you have any concerns about your dental health, please contact your dentist's office.