Bonding is a popular method used to fix chipped, cracked, and stained teeth. While it's a great way to restore the appearance of your teeth, the material can easily become stained in time, leaving your teeth looking dull and discolored.
Having stained teeth can significantly affect your self-confidence. Bonded teeth are one of the most common types of dental work, but unlike other dental procedures, whitening them is not always a simple task.
So the question remains: Is it possible to whiten bonded teeth?
What Is Teeth Bonding?
Teeth bonding is a cosmetic dental procedure in which a tooth-colored material, usually made of composite resin, is applied directly to the surface of the teeth.
The material is then hardened with ultraviolet light to give it durability and strength.
The bonding process can be used to close gaps between teeth, repair chips or cracks in teeth, reshape crooked teeth and cover stained or discolored areas on your teeth. It's relatively quick (typically completed within an hour) and cost-effective compared to other dental procedures, such as veneers or crowns.
How Does The Tooth Bonding Process Work?
Before the teeth bonding process even begins, your dental professional will need to evaluate if your teeth are suitable for the process. This is because it requires a healthy amount of enamel on your teeth in order for the bonding material to adhere properly. If you have enough enamel, then your dentist will use an etching solution to slightly roughen up the surface of the tooth so that it can better hold onto the composite resin used for bonding.
After this is done, they will apply a thin layer of composite resin and shape it to the desired shape and size. This resin is hardened using a UV light and then polished to give it a natural shine.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Dental Bonding
Like all dental procedures, there are both pros and cons to having your teeth bonded.
- It is a relatively quick and easy procedure with no need for anesthesia
- Dental bonding cost is among one of the cheaper dental procedures
- It can provide a natural-looking result
- It doesn’t damage your existing tooth structure
- The composite resin used to bond your teeth is resistant to staining compared to other materials like veneers
- Bonded teeth are more prone to chipping and wearing down over time
- The results are not permanent and will need to be replaced eventually
- Your teeth can become discolored over time due to natural wear and tear or staining from foods and drinks
- They are more prone to staining and are weaker than crowns, fillings, and veneers, for example
How Does Bonding Respond To Color?
The composite resin used in bonding is designed to match the color of your existing teeth. However, it can still become stained over time. This means that if you have discolored teeth before the procedure, these stains may be visible through the bonding material after a few years.
So while it's possible to get bonded teeth that look whiter than your natural tooth color, this won't last forever and will require regular maintenance in order to keep them looking their best.
Can You Whiten Bonded Teeth?
The short answer is - no, you can't whiten bonded teeth. The composite resin used in bonding is designed to adhere to the existing tooth structure and cannot be bleached like natural tooth enamel.
Natural teeth respond to bleaching products because their enamel is porous and can absorb the bleaching agent. The composite resin used in bonding, however, does not have this same porosity, so it cannot be whitened.
Instead, the material can be damaged by high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide, which is found in some teeth whitening products. The composite resin material cannot be re-bonded if it's been damaged or worn away by these products. So be careful! Once you start bleaching your bonded teeth, it's not reversible, and you may have to replace the bonding material if it is affected by the bleaching process.
In fact, the National Center for Biotechnology Information has found that whitening treatments only reduce the strength of dental bonding.
Ways To Whiten Bonded Teeth
While you won't be able to whiten bonded teeth with bleaching products or natural teeth whitening techniques, there are still a few professional teeth whitening options available if you’re not happy with the shade of your teeth.
Replace The Bonding
The most effective way to whiten bonded teeth is to replace the bonding with a new, composite resin. While it’s not the strongest or longest-lasting option, proper maintenance and care will help to ensure that the new bonding looks white and beautiful for years to come.
Invest In A Veneer
If you're looking for an option that's more durable than just replacing the bonding, consider getting a veneer to cover the affected teeth. Once the tooth or teeth are covered, it’ll hide any existing discoloration and give your teeth a brighter appearance.
Veneers are thin shells made out of porcelain or resin that fit over the front of the tooth like a cap, providing an instant whitening effect. If you’re deciding between dental bonding vs. veneers, veneers also provide more strength than bonding, so they will last longer and require less maintenance.
Ways To Keep Your Smile Bright After Teeth Bonding
Taking preventative measures is the best way to keep your teeth white and bright after bonding. Here are some tips:
Maintaining Good Oral Hygiene
Just like your natural teeth, your bonded teeth need to be brushed and flossed twice a day. The process will help prevent staining from food and drink, as well as the buildup of plaque, bacteria, and tartar that can lead to discoloration.
For teeth bonding, it's best to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste. Adding mouthwash to your routine can help reduce staining on your teeth and keep them looking brighter. Make sure to use an alcohol-free mouthwash that is designed for sensitive teeth, as this will be gentler on the composite resin used in bonding.
Quit Smoking Or Vaping
Smoking and vaping are known to cause discoloration of teeth. If you have recently undergone tooth bonding, it's best to avoid these habits in order to keep your teeth looking their best. The nicotine and tar in cigarettes and e-cigarettes can stain the resin used in bonding more easily than natural enamel.
Stay Away From Enamel-Staining Foods
Some foods and beverages can stain your teeth over time, including:
- Red wine
- Dark-colored sauces
- Colored spices
Avoiding these items or brushing immediately after consuming them can help keep the bonding material looking its best. It’s especially crucial to avoid these foods and drinks the following days after the bonding procedure.
Get Routine Dental Care
Visiting your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings can help keep your teeth in tip-top shape. During these visits, your dentist will be able to spot any areas of discoloration or staining on the bonding material and may recommend a solution.
How Does Teeth Whitening Affect Bonding?
As mentioned, whitening treatments, such as bleaching or laser whitening, are not recommended for bonded teeth. You don’t want the whitening agents to potentially cause damage to the composite resin material, resulting in discoloration and weakening of the bond.
If you would like to whiten your bonded teeth, it's important to speak with your dentist first so they can recommend a safe alternative that won't damage your bonding material.
Will Attempting To Whiten My Teeth Damage My Bonding?
Attempting to whiten your teeth with DIY treatments or over-the-counter products may cause damage to the bonding material. These products contain harsh chemicals that can weaken the bond and may even cause discoloration of the composite resin.
If you want to learn more about how to keep your bonded teeth looking new, here are some frequently asked questions about bonded teeth:
Is Bonding Bad For Your Teeth?
Quite the opposite! Bonding can help to protect the tooth from further damage and decay. However, it can also be important to keep up with your regular dental visits so that any potential problems can be detected early on. If you have issues with tooth decay, gum disease, or any other oral health issues, these should be addressed before getting bonding.
Does Baking Soda Whiten Bonded Teeth?
Baking soda can be used to whiten natural teeth, but it is not recommended for use on bonded teeth. The abrasive particles in baking soda could cause damage to the composite resin material and reduce its effectiveness.
Why is this? The composite resin used in bonding is porous, and the abrasive particles of baking soda can penetrate these pores, causing discoloration.
Additionally, the acidity of baking soda could erode the enamel underneath the bonded material, making it more prone to staining.
Can I Use Toothpaste To Whiten Bonded Teeth?
Toothpaste won't produce the same results as a professional whitening treatment, but it can help remove surface stains on your teeth. Be sure to choose a toothpaste with mild abrasives, as harsh products could damage the bonding material and cause it to chip or crack.
Some recommended non-abrasive, mild teeth whitening toothpaste options include:
- NatruSmile Whitening Toothpaste
- Colgate Optic White
- Crest 3D White Luxe
- Arm & Hammer Truly
- Radiant Whitening Toothpaste
Can I Whiten Resin-Bonded Teeth?
If you have resin-bonded teeth, whitening treatments are not recommended. The bleaching agents used in whitening treatments could cause damage to the composite resin material and reduce its effectiveness.
How Can I Whiten Bonded Teeth At Home?
Unfortunately, bonded teeth don't respond to any at-home teeth whitening treatments like teeth whitening kits. The best way to keep your bonded teeth looking their best is by practicing good oral hygiene and visiting your dentist regularly for a professional cleaning.
Can I Use Whitening Strips On Bonded Teeth?
No, it would be best if you don’t use whitening strips on bonded teeth. The hydrogen peroxide in the strips could damage the composite resin material and cause it to discolor.
Will Zoom Teeth Whitening Lighten Up My Dental Bonding?
When it comes to in-office whitening, the light sources, accelerated bleaching, and stronger ingredients may cause even further damage. The composite resin material used for bonding does not respond to bleaching agents, so any discoloration you may see is permanent.
Does Dental Bonding Turn Yellow?
Dental bonding can turn yellow over time. This is due to the staining of the composite resin material from coffee and other dark-colored foods and drinks. Abrasion from certain substances can also cause the composite resin to break down, resulting in a yellowish hue.
Many choose bonded teeth as a way to improve the appearance and health of their smiles. While it’s possible to get whiter-looking teeth with bonding, the results are not permanent and require regular maintenance in order to keep them looking their best.
And unfortunately, due to its lack of porosity, bonded teeth cannot be whitened like natural tooth enamel can. The best way to ensure your smile stays bright after bonding is by avoiding stain-causing foods and beverages and practicing good oral hygiene habits.
If you have any questions or concerns about whitening your bonded teeth, it’s best to consult with a dentist for advice. A professional can assess your individual needs and provide guidance on the best way to keep your smile looking its brightest!