By Susan Braden
Bonding refers to a plastic composite that matches the color of the tooth to which it attaches. Ultraviolet light hardens the bond, which is a quick solution for repairing chips or filling a decayed area. Some people even use this procedure in lieu of braces to improve the shape of their teeth. Though its classification may occasionally cross the line into “cosmetic dentistry,” several discount dental plans still may cover this procedure.
Many people are typically insured for “necessary” bonding to fill a tooth or a chip caused by an accident. “Cosmetic” bonding usually does not fall into that category, and patients might have to pay for the entire procedure. Several discount dental plans cover all bonding procedures, which could greatly reduce the out-of-pocket cost for the patient.
The typical cost of the procedure changes based on the purpose of the bonding. If used to fill a cavity, bonding should cost about $90-$300, depending on the cavity’s extent. Insurance might cover 50-80% of this procedure, though some plans might take off a larger percentage. Sometimes it is less expensive if a composite filling is used to replace a broken amalgam one.
Unless it is also necessary to maintain tooth structure, bonding for cosmetic reasons is often not covered by insurance. The average cost for this bonding classification is $300-$600 per tooth, though it can be as low as $100 or as high as $1,000. The price can change based on the complexity of the procedure, the expertise of the dentist or the cost of living in the area. (Discount plans, however, can help with this cost.) While the process is relatively inexpensive for simple procedures, more complex situations might require veneers ($500-$1,300 per tooth) or crowns ($500-$3,000 per tooth).
If placed correctly, a bond can last up to 11 years. It is a simple procedure requiring no anesthesia, unless it is used to fill a decayed tooth. First, the dentist roughens the tooth’s surface with a chemical solution or a light abrasive material so the bonding will adhere. The resin is applied like a putty and, after shaping it, the dentist hardens the composite with a laser or ultraviolet light. The bond will then be shaped and polished. The entire process should take no more than an hour, though minor cases can take as little as 30 minutes. Sometimes a lab will create the resin material to perfectly match the patient’s tooth color, which may require an extra visit.
A bond can be an efficient, relatively inexpensive way to repair a scratch or even perfect your smile. Discount dental plans may help reduce the expense to make this procedure a more affordable option.