If you have a chipped tooth and your cosmetic dentist has recommended a procedure called dental bonding to address it, you're probably wondering what to expect. What will happen when you sit down for your bonding appointment? Will it hurt? What does the recovery process entail? Read on to learn the answers to these questions and more.
How much will it cost?
Before you head to your dental bonding appointment, it's important to make sure you know how you'll cover the costs. Dental bonding typically costs between $300 and $600 per tooth. Your insurance may cover the cost of using bonding to fill a chip if the chip threatens the life of the tooth. But, if the chip is small and more of an aesthetic issue, insurance may not cover the procedure. You can talk to your insurance company ahead of time to determine whether your procedure will be covered, and you should also call the dentist's office for an exact estimate. If you don't have the funds on hand to pay for the bonding upfront, ask if your dentist accepts payment plans like Care Credit, which allows you to pay for your treatment over a period of months.
What happens during the dental bonding appointment?
Your dentist will begin by numbing your mouth so that you don't experience any discomfort during the bonding procedure. He or she will apply a topical anesthetic gel and will then inject a local anesthetic like Prilocaine into the nerve that's associated with your chipped tooth. While you're becoming numb, your dentist will use a shade guide to choose a color of resin that matches your teeth. This way, the bond will not be obvious.
When you're completely numb, your dentist will use an electric file to remove any damaged or uneven tooth enamel around the edge of your chip. You'll feel some vibrations, similar to when you have a cavity drilled, but won't have any pain.
Next, your dentist will place a few cotton rolls and perhaps a few metal shields (depending on the location of your chipped tooth) in your mouth. The cotton rolls just keep saliva from flowing into the chip while your dentist is working. The metal shields make sure the resin does not end up anywhere it shouldn't be. Your dentist will then use a syringe-like instrument to inject the prepared resin into the chipped area. Small metal tools will be used to shape the resin. Then, your dentist will shine a special light into you mouth to cure the resin.
Once the resin is cured, your dentist may make a few final adjustments with a file. Then, you'll be allowed to admire your new, bonded, chip-free tooth in the mirror.
What does recovery involve?
Recovery from dental bonding is as simple as can be. The anesthesia will wear off in about 2 to 3 hours. Until then, you should avoid eating since you don't want to accidentally bite your tongue. When the anesthetic wears off, you should not feel any pain, though your jaw might be a bit stiff from holding it open while your dentist worked. You can go straight back to eating your favorite foods and brushing your teeth as you normally would.
Your tooth might be a little sensitive during the first few days after dental bonding. Just minimize your consumption of hot and cold foods; the sensitivity should go away on its own very soon. Since the resin used in dental bonding can become stained, you'll want to minimize your consumption of dark-colored liquids like coffee, cola and red wine.
If you have any additional questions or concerns about your upcoming dental bonding appointment, talk to a dentist, such as David Jackson, DDS.