Have a chipped, broken, or stained tooth? Dental bonding can make it look like new again without causing too much damage to your budget.

“Bonding is a relatively inexpensive way to make minor dental repairs,” says Kimberly Harms, DDS, a dentist in Farmington, Minn. and consumer advisor for the American Dental Association (ADA). Plus, dental bonding is sometimes covered by insurance.

What Is Dental Bonding?

Dental bonding is a cosmetic dentistry procedure in which a tooth-colored composite material is applied to a tooth, sculpted into shape, hardened, and polished. It’s called bonding because the material bonds to the tooth. Dental bonding is ideal for small cosmetic dentistry work, such as fixing a broken or chipped tooth or closing small gaps between teeth. Dental bonding is also used as a tooth-colored filling for small cavities because it’s more cosmetically appealing than silver fillings.

What Does Dental Bonding Involve?

Your dentist will first apply a gentle phosphoric acid to the surface of your teeth, which etches and roughens the surface to help the bonding material stay in place. This process doesn’t hurt. The putty-like bonding material is then placed on the tooth’s surface, shaped, and sculpted. A special light is used to help the material harden and set. Finally, the composite is polished and buffed for a smooth finish.

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