Family dentistry is not cosmetic dentistry. Of course, dental restorations place an emphasis on maintaining the appearance of the tooth as well as its health. But this is different from elective cosmetic procedures such as teeth whitening or porcelain dental veneers. This is why you might be taken unawares when your family dentist recommends a cosmetic procedure for your teen. However, they may recommend a direct restoration called bonding.

Recommended for a Younger Patient

There are several occasions when bonding may be recommended for a younger patient. Your teen may be seeking help with a diastema, a conspicuous gap between two teeth—typically the two upper incisors. Alternatively a prominent tooth may be misshapen or permanently discolored. Perhaps even the surface of a prominent tooth has a superficial or hairline crack. Why is your teen's dentist suggesting that the best solution is a cosmetic dental procedure?

The Outward-Facing Surface

Bonding may be performed on the outward-facing surface of the tooth only, which is why its use is primarily cosmetic. The end result is similar to dental veneers, which are made of porcelain, but your teen's needs are different. Porcelain restorations require the removal of a fractional layer of the tooth's surface enamel, otherwise the teeth will look much too bulky—like the patient has developed a sudden overbite.

It's a Reversible Procedure

Enamel reduction is permanent, so anyone who undergoes the procedure to fit a dental restoration must now always wear one. The direct restoration your teen will receive is made of composite resin applied directly to the tooth, so no enamel removal will be performed, meaning the procedure is reversible—reflecting your teen's changing dental needs in the future. Composite resin is tooth-colored, and once applied to the tooth, can be dried immediately to form a hard outer shell, similar to natural tooth enamel. It's then shaped to achieve the desired result.

An Instant Dental Makeover

The resin can be used to expand the width of the tooth (eliminating gaps), and can comprehensively cover any physical abnormalities (shape or color), or any discoloration. It's basically an instant dental makeover for your teen's teeth (in a single dental appointment), which should do wonders for their self-confidence. If it should chip, flake, or crack, a new layer of resin can be applied. 

There's a reason why your family dentist is recommending a cosmetic procedure for your teen's teeth, and that's because it's the simplest and most effective way to improve the esthetics of their smile. Talk to your dentist for more information.