Can dental bonding really fix a front teeth gap in just 20 minutes?

November 8, 2023

So…it’s come to our attention that there are videos out there claiming - nay, showing - front teeth gaps being closed in roughly 20 minutes with dental bonding.

20 minutes!

To put that into perspective, it’s not even enough time to get through half of an episode of most shows. An orthodontic treatment would take months, at minimum, to achieve the same result.

Wait, these are dentists showing videos of actual patients, so they must be real, right? 

They are — but there are also things that the videos don’t tell you. 

Dental bonding *can* be a great option for quickly closing a tooth gap. Like with any procedure, though, there are pros and cons, so we’ll explain what’s going on in these dental bonding videos, what you need to know if you’re thinking of getting bonding for yourself, and whether orthodontic treatment might still make more sense for you.

Why you can trust us

Our office is home to 6 experienced dentists here in Port Coquitlam. Together, they have over a century of combined clinical experience, and they’ve both advised and treated hundreds of patients for orthodontic smile correction and cosmetic dental bonding.

What the results look like

In case you haven’t seen what bonding can do, this 14-second before-and-after video does a great job of showing how it can address a noticeable front teeth gap.

Compared to a lot of the up-close videos that only show the teeth being worked on, it gives a much clearer sense of how bonding can change the way your smile looks to other people and in photos.

Notice that, even as the woman in the video speaks and smiles, there’s no visible line or change in shading on her teeth — they just look completely like natural enamel.

If you were just meeting her for the first time, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell that she had cosmetic work done on her teeth. Impressive, right?

How’d they close the front teeth gap like that?

Basically, dental bonding works by:

  1. Adding a tooth-coloured composite resin to your teeth
  2. Shaping and texturing the resin so it looks good in a natural way
  3. Hardening and securing the resin to your teeth with ultraviolet light

If you don’t mind getting a close look at the inside of someone’s mouth, this short video shows a sped-up version of the entire process:

In it, you’ll notice some of the details that go into the bonding process, like colour matching of the composite resin so that it looks the same as the surrounding teeth.

It’s all done in just 20 minutes?

It can be, but not every procedure will take just 20 minutes. That amount of time isn’t wildly unrealistic, but it’s definitely on the shorter end.

In most cases, bonding appointments run a little bit longer than that, taking around 30 minutes to an hour.

Considering that you’ll be living with the finished result for several years though, an extra few minutes isn’t a huge problem. If anything, the added time the dentist takes will make your teeth look more natural and realistic.

Is it expensive?

Here in Metro Vancouver, the cost of closing a front teeth gap with dental bonding is typically around $2000.

That’s a fair amount of money for most people, but - at the same time - it’s also less expensive than other treatments like veneers or orthodontics that would help you achieve the same result.

In terms of value, that makes it one of the most economical options available. Even taking into account the supplemental coverage that many dental insurance plans offer on orthodontic treatment, bonding is still typically less expensive.

So…why would someone ever get braces or aligners for teeth gaps?

Based on everything we’ve talked about so far, things aren’t looking great for orthodontics.

They take longer to work, they’re more expensive, and they affect your day-to-day schedule more as well. So what would make you choose orthodontic treatment instead?

There are two big reasons:

  1. You need to fix more than just a front teeth gap
  2. You want a more permanent and durable solution

Orthodontic treatment can fix tooth gaps, misaligned bite position, *and* other oral health problems that bonding simply can’t address.

More than that - once those teeth are in their proper positions, they’ll stay there as long as you continue to use your retainer. 

That means you won’t need to have new bonding reapplied to your teeth every few years, and you’ll be able to confidently eat crunchy and chewy foods knowing that your teeth have the full strength of natural enamel.

On that note, let’s get into some of the reasons why bonding might *not* be for you.

Things to consider before getting bonding

Closing a teeth gap quickly can be great, but it’s not something you want to rush into without thinking about what it means for you in the short and long term.

Do you mind getting bonding reapplied periodically?

Even if you take great care of your teeth, bonding doesn’t last forever.

With the appointments being short and relatively non-invasive, this is more of a dollars and cents question - eventually, repeated bonding applications will end up costing more than other treatments like orthodontics or even porcelain veneers.

Do you regularly eat crunchy and sticky foods?

Composite bonding isn’t as strong as natural enamel or even the type of porcelain used in dental crowns.

It’s strong enough to handle typical day-to-day use for several years, but, if you love crunching down on firm dark chocolate or always have a bag of chewy gummies close at hand, then bonding might not be the right choice for you.

Do you consume a lot of things that stain teeth?

Composite bonding isn’t as stain-resistant as natural enamel.

This matters for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it means that the composite portion of your teeth will stain more quickly than the parts which are natural enamel. This can make the bonding work more visible.

Secondly, if you want to have those stains removed, that’ll mean visiting your dentist for extra polishing once a year. That won’t break the bank, but it is an extra “hidden” recurring cost that most people don’t talk about in their videos.

Our opinion: let health guide your choice

If you want to fix your front teeth gap and your dentist has also recommended that you get orthodontic work to address crowded teeth or bite misalignment, we’d suggest getting all of them taken care of at the same time with orthodontics.

It’ll cost more up front, but it’ll also give you a smile that’s healthier, more durable, and better looking for the rest of your life.

On the other hand, if the rest of your mouth is in good shape and you just want to close a front teeth gap, bonding can be a good option. 

It’s quick and relatively affordable, plus - if you change your mind and decide you want the permanent results of orthodontic treatment - you can always choose that option further down the road.

Prefer a professional recommendation?

When in doubt, asking an expert - or more than one! - is always a smart choice.

If you live in or around the Tri-Cities, we’d love to help you decide between bonding and orthodontics. With our team of six experienced dentists, it’s like getting multiple qualified opinions without having to visit different clinics.

Our consultations are 100% no-obligation, so if you’re just looking for information or decide that now isn’t the right time to start treatment, there’s absolutely no pressure. If you’re ready to chat with us, you can call (604) 474-2510 or message us online.

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