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12 March 2014

Cosmetic Bonding and Cosmetic Contouring

Cosmetic bonding and cosmetic contouring are two popular, fairly inexpensive smile makeover treatments that can yield quick, immediately noticeable results.

Cosmetic dental bonding involves the use of composite resin material which is matched to the shade of your teeth. Typically, a conditioning solution is first applied over the enamel surface which roughens the texture to ensure a stronger bond before the composite resin is applied and shaped. After the resin has been sculpted by the dentist according to the desired dimensions, it is next cured with a bright blue light that causes the material to harden. Following that, it will be trimmed and polished to fit the teeth around and achieve the intended look. The procedure can usually be completed in just one 30-minute sitting using no anesthetic.

Bonding is commonly used to boost the look of a discoloured or chipped tooth as well as to close gaps between teeth, to make teeth appear longer or to change the colour or shape of teeth. Some patients may also want to see how their smile makeover design will look by trying cosmetic bonding first before committing to a more expensive, more permanent, irreversible solution like veneers and porcelain crowns. Bonding does not last very long and may need repair or replacing after a few years. The resin used in bonding can also be easier stained than natural teeth, veneer or porcelain so it is often advisable to refrain from smoking and frequent consumption of coffee, tea or red wine.

Dental contouring is a cosmetic dentistry procedure which involves removing small amounts of tooth enamel in order to change the shape, length, or surface of one or more teeth and is generally used in combination with composite bonding to create a desired smile makeover look.

Before proceeding with the treatment, dental X-rays are usually taken to minimize possible risks. The dentist will then next mark the teeth to be reshaped with a pen to highlight areas that will need sculpting. Once marked, the areas will be then be gently sculpted and filed millimetre by millimetre using dental instruments and special abrasion tools. Most dentists use a sanding drill or laser to remove small amounts of surface enamel gradually. Then abrasive strips are moved back and forth between the teeth to shape the sides. Finally, the teeth are smoothed and polished. Completion of a typical teeth contouring treatment usually takes one to three visits to the dental office and will usually not require anesthetic.

Aside from tooth reshaping, dental contouring may also involve gum reshaping, or a “gum lift.” This procedure, which seeks to reduce excessively gummy smiles or to correct an asymmetrical gum line, involves using surgery to reshape the tissue and/or underlying bones to create the appearance of longer and more symmetrical teeth. Here, a local topical anesthetic is first applied to numb the area to be treated. Following this, the dentist will use a traditional scalpel or a dental laser to reposition the gum line and expose those parts of the tooth that were previously covered. In certain cases, aside from cutting the gum to the desired dimensions, some bone surrounding the teeth may also have to be removed. The procedure, which usually takes about an hour to complete, is relatively painless and will not be needing stitches.

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