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What is composite bonding and is this a new technique? For Dentists & Patients

composite veneers

Throughout my career I have many enquiries from patients referring to "Composite bonding". When this term came about from online blogs written by marketers mainly, it confused and threw many of dentists off, since composite has been a widely used material since the 1960s and is bonded onto a tooth for fillings or aesthetic treatments. In fact many countries now, only are allowed to use composite (as opposed to the metal amalgam fillings).


Composite materials were introduced in the 1960s

Composite materials were introduced in the 1960s, revolutionising dental restorations by providing a tooth-colored alternative to the amalgam fillings that were commonly used. Over the years, advancements in dental composites have significantly improved their durability, aesthetics, and versatility.

The confusion for dentists is that all dentists will be using composite and a bonding agent to bond to a tooth anyway whether its an anterior or posterior tooth

But over time it become more and more evident which specific procedure people meant by "Composite Bonding" and what was meant was a dental procedure where a tooth-colored composite resin is applied to their teeth to improve their appearance or restore function. The confusion for dentists is that all dentists will be using composite for the reasons below, and by extension will be using a bonding agent to bond it onto the tooth. (Composite has to be bonded to the tooth whether you are doing aesthetic treatments or routine posterior fillings).

Many dentists understand the term "composite bonding" to be essentially "using composite"

patient smiling with composite veneers

Uses of composite

  • Fixing Chips and Cracks: Patients often seek composite bonding to repair chipped or cracked teeth, making them look whole and healthy again.

  • Closing Gaps: For those with gaps between their teeth (diastema), composite bonding can fill these spaces, providing a more even smile.

  • Covering Discoloration: Patients with stained or discolored teeth may opt for composite bonding to achieve a whiter, more uniform appearance.

  • Reshaping Teeth: Some patients use composite bonding to alter the shape or length of their teeth, making them look more aligned and symmetrical.

  • Cavities: Composite resin is used as a filling material for cavities instead of traditional amalgam fillings. This is especially popular for fillings on visible teeth due to its natural appearance.

  • Worn Teeth: Patients with worn-down teeth from grinding or other issues might use composite bonding to restore the original shape and function.

To avoid confusion with your dentist, it can be helpful to discuss exactly what you like to achieve from the "composite bonding" treatment

To avoid confusion with your dentist, it can be helpful to discuss exactly what you like to achieve from the "composite bonding" treatment as it can cover a wide variety of procedures. Even if it is in the anterior, there are many way it can be used, from doing a full composite veneer, filling of a black triangle, adding length to the tooth or closing space to name a few.

What we do at Aidencare

  1. Consultation and Planning: This is the most important part of it all! We evaluate the teeth and discusses their goals and expectations, is it the length, color or shape to be changed and where on the tooth? We typically take Macro photos and Impressions for the first visit and have a discussion on the computer screen where you want to add the composite.

  2. Second visit - We confirm via molds previously taken of your teeth where the composite is to be added (this is done typically using wax and is called a wax up)

  3. Rubber dam isolation - Depending on where we add the composite, we need to keep the tooth dry and this can be achieved using a rubber dam.

  4. Preparation: The tooth surface is cleaned, and sometimes a mild acid is applied to roughen the surface for better bonding.

  5. Bonding: The bond is applied to the tooth (Dentists will vary with what type of bond they use)

  6. Application: The composite resin is applied in layers, each one hardened with a special curing light. (Dentists vary in what brand they use for different circumstance)

  7. Shaping and Polishing: Once the desired shape is achieved, the composite is polished to blend seamlessly with the natural teeth.

Benefits of composite

  1. Aesthetics: The primary draw for many patients is the natural look of composite bonding. The resin can be color-matched to their teeth, making the repairs or enhancements virtually invisible.

  2. Minimally Invasive: Composite bonding usually requires little to no removal of the natural tooth structure, preserving more of the patient's original tooth.

  3. Quick and Cost-Effective: The procedure is relatively quick, often completed in one visit, and is generally more affordable than other cosmetic dental procedures like veneers or crowns.

  4. Versatility: Composite bonding can address a variety of dental issues, both cosmetic and functional.

 Cons of composite bonding

  1. De-bonding - De-bonding can occur in patients that do not have a stable bite, or if the composite is not thick enough

  2. Bulkiness - As Composite needs to be of adequate thickness, some people can feel the composite to be a little bit bulky

  3. Staining - Junction of the composite and tooth can pick up staining if the area to be added is quite large

Tooth wear case done with composite


Whilst the term "Composite bonding" has now become a popular term to describe anterior aesthetic treatments to enhance the appearance of their smile and restore the function of their teeth. It can still cause confusion amongst dentists who routinely use composite, this is not aided by the fact composite also has other names such as "resin" or "resin composite" thus I have had questions on whether we provide "resin bonding" or "resin composite bonding" which essentially all mean the same thing.


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