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Tooth bonding is the application of a tooth-colored resin material using adhesives and a high intensity curing light. The procedure gets its name because materials are bonded to the tooth. Bonding is typically used for cosmetic purposes to improve the appearance of a discolored or chipped tooth.


Bonding is the application of a tooth-colored composite resin (plastic) to repair a decayed, chipped, fractured, discolored tooth, to make teeth appear longer, and as a cosmetic alternative to amalgam fillings.

First your dentist will consult a shade guide to select the composite resin the will most closely match the color of your tooth.

Then, your dentist will prepare the tooth by slightly etching the surface and will coat it in a conditioning liquid to help the bonding material adhere.

Next, your dentist will apply the tooth colored resin and mold the tooth until it is the proper shape, ensuring that it is smooth. Then, using an ultraviolet light, the resin is hardened.

Finally, your dentist will trim and shape the tooth and finally polish the material so that it matches the sheen of the rest of the tooth surfaces.

Tooth bonding can be used for a number of dental applications:

  • To fill cavities or repair teeth
  • To cosmetically alter the color of stained teeth
  • To fill the spaces between wide-gapped teeth
  • To lengthen teeth
  • To change their shape or
  • To protect a tooth’s root that has become exposed by receding gums

  • Per tooth, the bonding takes 30 to 60 minutes depending on the filling needed, veneers take longer.

    The bonding will last you several years, though how long specifically depends on your oral habits. Chewing ice, biting pens, or nibbling on your fingernails, are all off-limits, as this can weaken or chip the material. Staining is a common problem with bonding so remember to get your teeth polished during your next dental check-up

    If you avoid these habits, and continue to brush twice a day, floss at least once a day, and see your dentist for regular check-ups, your bonded teeth should last you anywhere from three to ten years!

    Dental Bonding Procedure

    Dental bonding takes little to no preparation, and the use of anesthesia if often not necessary unless the bonding is being used to fill a decayed tooth. Your dentist will match the shade of your existing teeth to select a composite resin color that will closely match the color of your tooth.

    There are two forms of dental bonding: direct composite bonding and adhesive bonding

    1. Direct Composite Bonding- Direct composite bonding is the process where dentists use tooth-colored composites (white or natural-looking materials) that they have in their offices to fill cavities, repair chips or cracks, close gaps between your teeth and build up the worn-down edges of teeth. The composite materials may also be directly applied and sculpted to the surfaces of teeth that show most prominently when you smile, for minimally invasive smile makeovers. In the dental world these are called direct composite veneers but generically known by most to be called "bonding."

    2. Adhesive Bonding- Adhesive bonding as opposed to direct composite bonding is the process of attaching a restoration to a tooth. This method is commonly used for esthetic crowns, porcelain veneers, bridges and inlays/onlays. After your dentist has chosen a color that matches the shade of your teeth, he/she will roughen the surface of the tooth using a gentle phosphoric acid solution. Soon after the roughing agent is removed, a liquid bonding agent is applied. The tooth-colored putty-like resin is applied to the tooth, then molded and smoothed until it's in the desired shape. The material is then hardened with an ultraviolet curing light, and the previous step is repeated until the filing or direct composite veneer has reached its final shape. Your dentist will then polish the material until it matches the sheen of the rest of the tooth surface.

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