Bonding is the joining of different materials and surfaces through a system of chemical and mechanical locking. In dentistry, the term is used to describe a number of techniques of attaching, or bonding, plastic or porcelain material to a tooth surface.

Bonding is used to attach sealants, porcelain or composite resin, inlays or onlays, porcelain veneers and porcelain crowns. Bonding materials are also applied directly to the teeth to “fill cavities” or to correct such problems as chips, cracks, or gaps between the teeth.

Using this technique to improve one’s appearance is usually less expensive than placing porcelain and can often be done in one visit. Bonding (resins, composites) can be used to close gaps between front teeth, reshape malformed teeth, improve the color of severely discolored teeth, and restore broken teeth.

There are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Acids (such as vinegar, tomatoes or pineapples) and alcohol can damage the resin.
  • Bonding material can be stained by such items as cigarettes, coffee, tea or berries.
  • Chewing ice, popcorn kernels and hard candy can put excess pressure on the resin and cause it to break.


1. The surface to be bonded is cleansed and dried. It is then etched with a mild acidic solution to roughen the surface. This creates a network of very tiny pores (micropores).

2. A liquid plastic bonding material is brushed over the etched surface where it flows into the micropores, creating a mechanical and chemical bond when set. The bonding material is hardened by brief exposure to a special curing light or a chemical process.

3. Tooth colored composite resins are added to the tooth and shaped. These materials are a combination of plastic resin and glass particles.

4. They are hardened with a curing light and the composite is then carefully contoured and finely polished.

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