Bonding to teeth, although routine today, was reserved for limited applications until just a decade ago. New technology has improved the ability of tooth-colored filling materials, called composite resins, to adhere to teeth in a process we now call bonding. These plastic mixtures are superior in both durability and esthetics, eliminating the need for older silver/mercury fillings.
Perhaps the greatest advantage of bonding is that it restores strength to the remaining tooth structure-something older fillings cannot do. This reduces breakage and allows a more conservative repair of teeth that may have otherwise required crowns or more extensive restoration in the past. Bonding also enables invisible cosmetic touch-ups of chipped or worn teeth to be accomplished with ease often even without the need for anesthetic.
Replacing older silver/mercury fillings with these bonded restorations not only can improve a smile's appearance, but may help prevent future dental problems such as cracks and breakage.
The bonding procedure is usually completed in one visit. The first step is to remove the decayed or unsightly portion of the tooth or roughen the remaining tooth slightly to aid the bonding process. A bonding agent is applied to the dried tooth. A matching shade of composite resin is placed on the tooth and sculpted to the proper shape and contour. The composite material is then cured by a light. The resin is trimmed and polished, resulting in a beautifully sculpted, nearly invisible restoration.