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When your grandparents were children, falling in the park and chipping a tooth may have meant a lifetime of living with an imperfect smile—even if the tooth wasn't pulled completely. Repairing chips and fractures was almost as uncomfortable as it was unrealistic. Instead of opting for lengthy procedures or donning a false tooth to cover up an embarrassing smile, most patients simply lived with the injury.

Fast forward to 2016, however, and we enjoy an entire branch of modern dentistry dedicated to building onto the teeth: adhesive dentistry. Adhesive dentistry is the art and science of attaching polymer composite resins to the teeth to repair damage, reshape the teeth, and drastically improve the aesthetics of your smile. Here is a little more background about dental bonding and what to expect when you go in to have it done.

The History of Dental Bonding

Adhesive dentistry really began with the invention of the amalgam filling in the early 1800's. British chemist Jacob bell invented a mercury-based composite that dentists found worked well to fill teeth. Although people today balk at the idea of voluntarily having a toxic metal placed in your mouth, older mercury fillings allowed patients to prolong the use of their natural teeth and avoid excruciating dental pain. These older mercury fillings were used until 1840, when they National Dental Association, now called the American Dental Associations, barred their use because of safety concerns.

In 1926, Alfred Stock, a German chemist, experienced a health issue that he attributed to his mercury fillings. His research into mercury vapors was pivotal in banning the use of mercury fillings for medical practices around the world. Unfortunately, during World War II, his documentation was lost and Dr. Karl O. Frykholm of Sweden released an erroneous study that claimed saliva in the mouth prevented the release of mercury vapors. After 1957 mercury composite was again used in dental health procedures. Fortunately, Hal Huggins, an American dentist suffering from Multiple Sclerosis, worked with a Brazillian dentist named Olympia Pinto to confirm that mercury fillings were unstable, dangerous, and could contribute to illnesses such as Hodgkin's disease and SIDS. Although traditional silver amalgam fillings contained slight traces of mercury as a binding agent, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) ruled in 2009 that it found no evidence that mercury was present in amalgam fillings.

Modern Bonding Materials

By the late 1950s and early 1960s, dentists were experimenting with stronger, more durable resins and working with gentle acids to improve adhesion. Over the next fifty years, dentists would hone the art of adhesive dentistry, designing self-curing and UV curing composites, and creating dental composites that look and feel just like natural teeth.

Modern dental bonding materials are more advanced than ever before, offering an unparalleled level of strength, beauty, and comfort for patients. Today's composite materials do not contain heavy metals, and they are more durable than older versions—lasting as long as ten years without needing to be touched up. Bonding is also incredibly simple for patients, and most of the time, the process doesn't even require anaesthetic.

Westchester dentist including Prisma, TPH, XRV and Tetric Ceram (and many others) that provide the Microfilled and Nanofilled composites. Microfillers are smaller than 1 micron and Nanofillers are composed of particles that are no larger than 0.1 microns. In modern dentistry, many practitioners prefer to use the microfill composite for filling the inside of a tooth cavity, as it is stronger and can resist more bite force. To help reduce discoloration and wear and tear, the Nanofillers can be used on the outside of a filled tooth, as the smaller particles are smoother, creating less possibility of debris and staining.

Dental Bonding: The Process

Dental bonding has a wide variety of applications, including repairing chips, sealing fractures, and even reshaping the teeth. Since bonding can be cured in moments, dentists in Scarsdale can use it to make the teeth longer, to change the shape, or to keep bacteria from invading the sensitive inner portions of teeth. Dental bonding can also be used to change the color of teeth that have been permanently discoloured due to illness or injury.

Before dental bonding is applied, the teeth will be cleaned and dried. Next, the dentist will use a special acidic compound to roughen the surface of the tooth on a microscopic level. After the compound is cleaned off and the tooth is rinsed and dried, the dentist will start forming the compound around the tooth. When the dentist is happy with the shape of the tooth, the composite resin will be cured with a UV light, then polished and cleaned. The result is an instant repair that will stand the test of time and blend in perfectly with your surrounding teeth.

For more information about dental bonding, contact your dentist today.

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