What are composite bonding and veneers? A step-by-step guide

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Composite bonding is the new buzz term in dentistry (yes, trend and dentistry can absolutely be used in the same sentence these days) and for good reason. The procedure is minimally invasive and delivers truly impressive results, but there’s a lot to consider and learn before jumping into the dentist’s chair.

Before getting the procedure, I had considered it for years. But until then, the fear of the unknown prevented me from taking the first step of consultation. That was until I met Dr. Rhona Eskander, dentist, founder of Pärla and owner of Chelsea Dental Clinic, who finally convinced me to take the plunge.

If you’re considering composite bonding, you’ve come to the right place because we’ll detail everything you need to know about the procedure.

Consulting meeting,

My first appointment at Chelsea Dental Clinic was a consultation with Dr. Eskander where we discussed my dental history and major concerns. I have missing adult teeth that never grew in which led to gaps in my front teeth so I wanted to get that sorted. I also generally felt like my teeth were too small for my mouth. Lastly, I wanted them to be a bit whiter. She discussed my options and explained the differences between composite bonding and composite veneers (which are very different from porcelain veneers) and recommended the latter to me (more on that later).

The action plan following my initial consultation was a hygienist appointment, home whitening (with professional products) and composite veneers. I left my appointment confident that I was in very good hands with Dr. Eskander and his team, and most importantly, incredibly excited to return a few months later for the procedure.

Difference Between Composite Bonding and Composite Veneers

The material used in the bonding procedure is a resin (called composite) which Dr. Eskander explained is almost like gel nail polish for the teeth (but lasts much longer). Composite bonding (also known as edge bonding) is often used only on the edges of the teeth, while composite veneers cover the entire surface of the tooth. Both treatments can be used to fill gaps, repair chips, and change the shape and size of teeth. You and your dentist will determine what is best for you based on your personal situation and desired outcome.

It is also important to note that composite veneers are different from porcelain veneers, which involve a thin piece of porcelain that is bonded to your tooth. This procedure is more invasive and requires more preparation. Again, your dentist will help you decide what is best for you.

Appointment with the hygienist and teeth whitening

A few weeks later and before my bonding appointment, I had a hygienist appointment with Anna Middleton (otherwise known as London Hygienist). But, it wasn’t an old hygienist appointment, she used a Swiss technique called Guided Biofilm Therapy (GBT). It is more effective and a much smoother and more pleasant experience than a regular hygienist session. The appointment begins with a Middleton assessment, followed by a layer of blue dye, which makes the biofilm (a bacteria) visible. It clearly shows any problem areas Middleton might point out to me (luckily my teeth were in pretty good shape) and gives some pointers on how I can brush and floss my teeth more effectively.

From there, Middleton uses a combination of warm water, air, and fine powder from a special machine to gently remove stains and biofilm from the teeth. Finally, Middleton uses the same machine with smaller brushes and attachments to reach targeted areas of the teeth that need special attention. My teeth looked visibly cleaner and much shinier immediately after the treatment. Best of all, the procedure wasn’t even uncomfortable, unlike many traditional hygienist appointments.

When I admitted I was not good at flossing because I hate the feeling, Middleton was helpful rather than critical. She suggested the Waterpik Cordless Plus Water Flosser (£55), and it completely changed my flossing game for the better.

During the same appointment, I was given my custom-made teeth whitening trays (which I was scanned for during my first consultation appointment) and explained how to whiten my teeth in safely at home for two weeks.

Composite Veneers Procedure

Now let’s move on to gluing. My appointment lasted a total of 1h30 to do composite veneers on my six front teeth. Dr. Eskander first isolated the teeth with a rubber sheet, called rubber dam, before shampooing the teeth, called etching. Next is the actual bonding, which was built up in different layers and placed directly over my natural teeth (without filing or drilling beforehand), so Dr. Eskander could fill in the gaps and sculpt the teeth into natural shapes. It’s completely painless, and Dr. Eskander and his team worked at a super fast pace, so it felt like it was over in a flash.

After the actual bonding was done, I had my gums lasered. I was given a local anesthetic and had my gums trimmed, which Dr. Eskander describes as a bit like trimming your cuticles. It didn’t hurt from the anesthesia, but I have to admit it didn’t smell good. “It changes the proportions of the gums, because your gums are also very, very important when it comes to the proportions of your teeth,” she explained. And that was it! It sounds simple, but it certainly takes an incredibly skilled dentist to achieve these results so quickly and effectively.

Maintenance of composite veneers

I was told not to use my front teeth to eat things that were too hard, like to be careful with french fries. This might be an inconvenience for some people – especially those who bite their nails and regularly use their teeth to tear things apart – but for me it wasn’t a big deal as I try to be very careful with it anyway. my teeth. I came away from my appointment with a whole new smile, with no pain or downtime. My gums were a little sore, but they healed in about three days.

When it comes to long-term maintenance, bonding requires more home maintenance than porcelain veneers and should be well cared for. Composite is more prone to staining and chipping and requires polishing every 6-12 months. Composite veneers last 5-7 years – generally, the better you take care of them, the longer they will last.

Results

After my smile transformation, a lot of people said to me, “If you hadn’t told me, I wouldn’t have noticed,” and to me, that’s the sign of a great dentist. The results are barely noticeable to others but make a huge difference to me and my confidence, which is exactly what it’s all about.

Image source: POPSUGAR Photography / Tori Crowther

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