Some people are proud of the gaps in their teeth. Iconic pop artist Madonna is famous for hers, and there’s a whole segment of the modeling market these days featuring models with prominent gaps between their two front teeth.
That said, some people deal with more severe gap issues that can impact not only their appearance, but their ability to function, including eating and even speaking properly. For people that are not keen on their natural gaps, there is good news. There are several options to close or cover these unsightly spaces between teeth.
Of course, you might not be interested in wearing orthodontic braces just to close a few gaps, or you might be dealing with additional cosmetic issues like staining that can’t necessarily be corrected with braces. You may not have the money for pricy orthodontics. In this case, you should consider a quick, easy, and affordable alternative: dental bonding. What is it and how does it work? Here are a few things to consider.
Why Eliminate Gaps? First and foremost, you should understand the reasons for eliminating gaps in your teeth. Aside from the cosmetic appeal of a perfect, straight smile, you might want to eliminate gaps to reduce risk factors for tooth decay. On the one hand, gaps could make the job of brushing and flossing easier, but the flip side of that coin is that more food and bacteria could also get lodged between teeth, leading to heightened risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
If you love the way your teeth look, gaps and all, you’re diligent about your daily oral hygiene regimen, and you visit your dentist regularly for cleaning and examination, you might not need to bother eliminating gaps. However, if you are unhappy with your appearance and/or you suffer from oral health concerns as a result of gaps, dental bonding could be the perfect solution.
What is Dental Bonding? Dental bonding is a cosmetic procedure by which tooth-colored composite resin is applied to teeth and bonded in place. This resin is malleable and can be used to cover cracks and chips, hide staining or discoloration, create a straight and even tooth line, and compensate for minor misalignment issues like crowding or gaps, among other uses.
The Bonding Procedure Bonding takes place in-office and can be completed in a single visit in most cases. The process begins by selecting the color of resin that most closely matches your teeth. If you’re interested in tooth whitening, you’ll want to have it done prior to bonding, since bonding materials will not lighten like your natural teeth.
Next, your tooth or teeth will be etched to create a rough surface that bonding materials are better able to adhere to. Once the resin is applied, the dentist will shape it until your teeth look perfect, after which a blue light will be used to harden the material for durability. After a polish to smooth the resin, you’re done. If you’ve had modern resin fillings, the process is much the same.
Why is this a Good Solution for Gaps? There are several good reasons to opt for bonding instead of other potential methods of filling gaps. For starters, bonding is much faster than braces, just for example. You can close a gap with bonding and see immediate results in one dental visit, whereas you might have to wear braces for months or years to correct alignment issues and see permanent results. Bonding is also a lot less expensive than braces.
While bonding isn’t completely permanent, it is fairly durable and long-lasting. With proper care, you can reasonably expect dental bonding to last up to ten years. Of course, this does mean taking steps to preserve and protect dental bonding, just as you do your natural teeth.
For one thing bonding materials can become stained, especially if you smoke cigarettes or drink a lot of staining beverages (coffee, tea, red wine, etc.). If you’re unable to quit these habits, you might want to consider a different option like braces or veneers.
While bonding is durable, it’s not quite as strong as your natural teeth, so you’ll want to avoid hazards like biting your nails or chewing on hard items like candy, ice cubes, pen caps, and so on. As long as you’re willing to properly care for your dental work, bonding can be a great way to close gaps and get the perfect smile you crave.