Oral Health and Genetic Risk Factors

Closing Gaps Between Your Teeth: The Pros and Cons of Bonding

If you have a small gap between two teeth, your dentist may talk to you about fixing the gap to make your teeth look better. In some cases, you may be advised to use a bonding procedure to close the gap. Here, your dentist will use a bonding material to build up the edges of the teeth on either side of the space to fill it in. What are the advantages and disadvantages of using bonding to fix a gap?

The Advantages of Bonding

During a bonding procedure, your dentist uses the same kind of composite resin material as you would have in a filling. This material is sculpted around your teeth to make them slightly larger so that the gap between them disappears.

Bonding to fill a gap has the following advantages:

  • Bonding is a quick way of fixing small gaps. If you don't have any other problems with your teeth, this may be a better option than other longer-term fixes such as braces.
  • You may not need to have any significant preparation work done on your teeth before the bonding material is applied. Other gap-filling options such as veneers may require you to have some of your enamel removed before the veneer is fitted; however, this isn't an issue with bonding which may be able to be applied straight on your teeth without damaging them. If you decide that you no longer want the bonding between your teeth or want it replaced in the future, this is a relatively easy job for your dentist.
  • Your dentist can make sure that the bonding colour matches the colour and shape of your teeth so that the filled gap looks natural.

The Disadvantages of Bonding

Before you decide to use bonding to close a gap, it's important to look at the drawbacks of this solution. For example, you need to consider the following factors first:

  • Larger gaps are not typically suited to bonding. Building up teeth with a composite resin to fill a large space may make your teeth look too big in your smile. Plus, bonding materials are not as strong as your teeth. If your bite relies too much on bonding rather than on your teeth, the bonding material may fracture or break off and the gap fix may fail.
  • Bonding materials may stain differently than your natural teeth over time. The bond may look a different colour to the rest of your teeth and may make your smile appear uneven. If this happens you may need to have the bond replaced. If you smoke or eat a lot of food that stains your teeth, this may not be the best option for you.
  • You may need to be careful about what you eat and modify oral habits if you use bonding to fill a gap. Hard and chewy foods may break the material. Oral habits such as nail biting, chewing on ice or biting pens may also weaken bonding, according to Colgate Australia.

Alternatives to Bonding

If you or your dentist decide that bonding is the not the best option to fix your gapped teeth, you can look at other options. For example, veneers can also be used to fill spaces and braces can be used to pull the teeth together to fix a gap permanently.