Your dentist uses a dental shade guide to choose the composite resin color that matches your tooth color most closely. Once your dentist has chosen the color, he or she will slightly abrade, or etch, the surface of the tooth to roughen it. The tooth will be coated lightly with a conditioning liquid, which helps the bonding material adhere. After the tooth is cleaned and prepped, your dentist will apply the tooth-colored, putty-like resin. He or she sculpts the resin until it reaches the proper shape, then hardens the material with an ultraviolet light or laser light.
Once the bonding material hardens, your dentist will trim and shape it, then polish it until it matches the luster and sheen of the remaining tooth surface. It usually takes 30 to 60 minutes to complete a cosmetic bonding procedure. If you need more than one tooth bonded, you may need to schedule several visits.
Coffee, tea, cola drinks, medications, and cigarette or cigar smoke can stain the bonding resin. To prevent or minimize stains, you should avoid eating foods or drinking liquids that can stain teeth for the first 48 hours after your bonding procedure. You should also brush your teeth often and have a dental hygienist clean them regularly after you have had cosmetic bonding.