Prior to bonding, the only means by which filling materials or artificial teeth could adhere to natural teeth was by using strong cements, drilling pins into the tooth structure or cutting retentive grooves into the tooth in order to lock in the filling material. Bonding is a chemical process by which a tooth coloured filling material adheres to the tooth structure forming a strong and permanent bond.
The technical process consists of four steps:
- A mild form of acid is applied to etch the outer surface of the tooth creating a rough area.
- Primer is then spread over the area and forms a strong bond with the tooth surface.
- The tooth coloured resin is placed over the primer. As the soft resin adheres to the primer, it is molded into the required shape.
- A powerful light is placed on the material to harden it.
The process of bonding is a powerful tool in the dental arsenal and has revolutionized many aspects of dentistry. The technique is widely used to place composite fillings, attach veneers, porcelain crowns and inlays, and also as a cost effective means of building up broken and chipped teeth.