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Bonded resin is a plastic material used in reconstructive dental procedures. The resin is a tooth-colored durable plastic that is bonded to teeth. It is generally made of a composite of synthetic materials designed specifically to adhere to teeth.
One use of bonded resin is to repair decayed teeth by filling cavities. It is also used to repair chipped or cracked teeth, close spaces between teeth or generally change the size or shape of a tooth. Bonded resins are also used to protect a tooth's root that has been exposed after the gums have receded. Some dentists believe that bonded resin is most appropriate for small cosmetic changes, temporary cosmetic faults, and the correction of teeth with a low bite pressure like the front teeth.
Anesthesia is generally not used when applying bonded resin, except when it is being used to fill a cavity. A dentist will use a shade guide to choose a resin color that most closely matches the natural color of the tooth. The tooth's surface is then roughened, and a conditioning material applied to help the resin stick to the tooth. The resin, in a putty-like form, is applied to the tooth, molded to the desired shape and smoothed. Next, an ultraviolet light or laser is applied to the resin, which generally contains a photo-initiator that causes the resin to harden. The resin is then trimmed, shaped and polished.
Synthetic resins have become a popular dental choice in the past few decades, as they are relatively inexpensive. Unlike other reconstructive options such as veneers and crowns, which need to be customized and manufactured in a laboratory, resins can generally be fitted and applied in one visit to the dentist. They are also insoluble, meaning they cannot dissolve, and they are not sensitive to dehydration. Composite resins can be altered and tailored to allow the material to be matched to tooth shade, making them an aesthetically pleasing choice. Bonded resins will generally last anywhere from three to ten years.
Bonded resins are not as strong as other restorative options such as veneers, crowns and fillings, and will generally not last as long. They are also less stain resistant than some other materials. Bonded resins can also chip and break, so patients who receive bonded resins are advised to avoid biting fingernails, chewing on pens and other hard objects, and using their teeth to open things.