The low-down on dental composite bonding

Written by: Dr Alexander Harding BDS, MFDS RCPS(Glasg) | 1300SMILES dentists | September 4, 2020

When it comes to cosmetic dentistry, composite bonding is one of the least invasive, most cost-effective treatments available. It also delivers immediate results. 1300SMILES’ Dr Alexander Harding fills us in on this smile-enhancing procedure.

What is composite bonding? 

Composite bonding, an alternative to traditional veneers, is a procedure in which your dentist uses a resin material to restore or reshape your teeth. This treatment is used when teeth are chipped, cracked, a bit uneven naturally, have gaps, or require re-shaping. We use composite bonding to shape the tooth – by squaring it up, rounding it off, or filling it in – and the composite blends seamlessly with the natural tooth so that you can’t even tell it’s there. We use a shade guide to match your natural colour.

How is a composite bond applied?

First, your dentist etches the tooth to roughen the surface, then applies a soft, putty-like, composite resin. The resin is shaped and smoothed, then the dentist uses a blue light to set the material. Once hardened, the dentist continues to shape until it’s perfect, then smooths it to match your natural tooth’s sheen. 

“As this treatment is most often used for building or thickening the tooth to reshape it, we often don’t even need to drill the tooth.”


As this treatment is most often used for building or thickening the tooth to reshape it, we often don’t even need to drill the tooth, making most composite bonding treatments quick, painless, and minimally invasive. Compared to other treatments such as veneers and crowns, minimal tooth enamel is removed which is also a positive. Anaesthesia is only required when drilling is required, which is when composite bond is being used to fill a decayed tooth, when drilling is required to shorten or level a tooth, or when a chip is close to the tooth’s nerve.

Composite bonding is quite a simple treatment and can be completed in a single session. To treat a single tooth could take as little as 20 minutes, while more extensive work could take 40 minutes up to one hour per tooth.

What are its uses and why is it beneficial?

Composite bonding is a versatile, effective treatment, allowing dentists to: 

  • Lengthen teeth
  • Even out tooth edges
  • Fill in gaps
  • Fill in cavities

The benefits of composite bonding are:

  • Immediate results
  • Minimally invasive
  • Quick, in-chair procedure
  • Low cost
  • No recovery time

Who can have it?

There is no age limit when it comes to composite bonds, the decision to use dental bonds as part of your treatment will come down to the condition of your teeth. We are even able to use composite for children who experience chipped or cracked teeth. For most composite bonds, we don’t use a drill, so it is well-suited to many patients. 

How much does it cost?

The cost of composite bonding varies based on the extent of the treatment required and is assessed on a case-by-case basis. Your dentist will estimate the cost of your treatment following a smile consultation. As a rough guide, a minor treatment to a single tooth could be around $165, while more significant work to a single tooth could be closer to $310*.

Composite bonding can be a standalone treatment, but it can also be part of a more extensive smile plan. The best way to determine whether composite bonding would work for you, is to have a smile consultation with your dentist to develop a complete treatment plan. That plan determines not only the cost of your specific composite bonding treatment, but also the order in which you would need to receive any other procedures you desire or have been recommended. For example, straightening treatments which change the position of teeth, or whitening treatments as composite bonds cannot be whitened. If you want to whiten your teeth you would need to do this prior to the bonding procedure, so that the composite material is matched to your whitened tooth and not your natural colour.

What is the lifespan of a composite bond?

Composite bonds can wear down over time, or even chip off entirely, the speed at which that occurs depends on the composite size and position and your oral habits. In general, we expect each composite build up to last between 5-10 years, so there is considerable value for the cost outlay. Of course, we recommend regular dental check-ups and cleans, during which your dentist will check your bond’s margins and overall condition. Being an in-chair, low-cost and quick treatment, composite bonds are easy to replace if required. 

*Pricing stated to be used as a guide only. 

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