Dental bonding is often an excellent way to resolve minor dental problems. This remarkable dental technology allows your dentist to use composite resin to cover the surface of the affected tooth, correcting whatever issues you have and leaving behind a beautiful, perfect-looking tooth! If you live in or around the Austin, Texas area and are considering dental bonding for yourself or a family member, there are a few things you should know about eating with bonded front teeth. That’s why we’ve compiled the following information. But before we talk about eating do’s and don’ts, let’s explore what’s involved in the dental bonding process.
The Dental Bonding Procedure
Once your dentist has determined that you’re a good candidate for dental bonding, the procedure itself can usually be completed in a single trip to the dentist’s office. The process begins when your dentist gently roughs the surface of the tooth (or teeth) that will be bonded. After that, he or she will mix composite resin in a shade that exactly matches your natural teeth. Then your dentist will apply the resin to your teeth. Finally, he or she will use a curing light to harden the bonding material. The result is one or more teeth that are not only repaired, but absolutely beautiful!
While there’s no doubt that dental bonding is perfect in certain circumstances, it’s important to remember that bonding may not be the right choice for every situation or for every patient. Although the composite resin material is quite strong, it’s not recommended for teeth in the back of the mouth (molars), which are the teeth that have to withstand the majority of pressure when you chew food. Instead, bonding works best on front teeth that only have to endure limited pressure. And bonding is only intended to correct minor issues, so if you have more significant problems, your dentist might recommend another procedure. Still, bonding is often quite effective in resolving the following issues:
- Broken, chipped or cracked teeth
- Badly stained teeth that can’t be whitened with whitening products
- Slightly misaligned teeth
- Misshapen teeth
- Teeth with wide gaps in between
Eating Do’s and Don’ts for Bonded Teeth
As we mentioned earlier, the material used in dental bonding is very durable (in fact, bonding often lasts between 5 and 10 years if it’s well cared for), but it’s not strong enough to withstand intense biting and chewing pressure day in and day out.
That’s why bonding is typically only done on a patient’s front teeth. In addition to the durability issue, composite resin can also be stained in much the same way as natural teeth can be. Keeping the information in mind, here are our tips on foods and drinks to avoid after your teeth have been bonded:
- Hard foods – You’ll need to be careful with foods that are hard. So limit your indulgence in foods like nuts, hard candy and popcorn (kernels), for example. That’s not to say that you should never eat these foods, but if you do, you should keep in mind that using your bonded teeth to bite into hard foods may damage the composite resin material. For that reason, when you do eat these foods, be sure to use only your back molars to chew. If you’re an ice chewer, try to break that habit altogether. Chewing ice can easily damage your natural teeth, whether they’re bonded or not.
- Sticky foods – There are a variety of foods that fall into the “sticky” category: gummies, caramel, taffy and gum, for example. Since these treats usually contain sugar, it would be best to avoid them as much as possible anyway to maintain good oral health. But if you have bonded teeth, even an occasional sticky treat has the potential to loosen the bonding material. If you do eat this type of food, keep it to a minimum and try to avoid contact with your bonded teeth.
- Staining beverages – It’s an unfortunate truth – many of the drinks that we enjoy on a regular basis can end up staining our teeth. If you have bonded teeth, these drinks can stain the bonding material as well. So beverages such as coffee, tea, wine and colas should be kept to a minimum. You should know that drinking through a straw helps to reduce the contact that your teeth have with stain-causing drinks, so if you do indulge in these beverages, you might consider using a straw.
- Staining foods – Unfortunately, many of our favorite foods are those that can and do stain not only teeth, but bonding material as well. Some of the worst culprits are tomato-based sauces and berries (blackberries, blueberries and raspberries in particular). But that doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on the healthy aspects of these foods altogether. Just be sure that when you do eat them, you brush your teeth soon afterward or, at the very least, rinse your mouth out with water to reduce the staining as much as possible.
One final tip: never use your teeth as tools! Most of us grow out of the unhealthy habit when we reach adulthood, but if you’re still tempted to use your front teeth as tools, remember that you can badly damage your teeth by doing so.
Dental bonding has so many benefits: it’s fast, relatively inexpensive, durable, and is effective in resolving a wide variety of minor dental issues. But as remarkable as this dental technology is, it does require a certain amount of effort on the part of the patient to maintain it. In addition to the above do’s and don’ts of eating with bonded teeth, you should be sure to practice good oral hygiene each and every day by brushing at least twice a day and flossing at least once. And, of course, visit your dentist at least twice a year for professional cleanings and oral exams. To find out more about dental bonding, and whether or not you might be a good candidate, contact your Austin, Texas dentist today and schedule an appointment.