436 N Roxbury Drive Suite 100, Beverly Hills, CA 90210 Call Us: (310) 276-2468
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Brian LeSage, DDS, FAGD, FAACD

Imagine yourself with an
exquisitely beautiful smile.

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How Many Times Can My Dentist Redo Bonding?

I love my dentist, but this time, I am convinced that he doesn’t know what he is doing with the bonding on my teeth. After I finished Invisalign, the edges of my teeth looked zigzagged, so my dentist said he could even the edges to look natural but not super straight. I thought it was a good idea. The first try was a disaster. I tried to get used to it, but it looked like a bad Silly Putty job. My dentist removed and reapplied the bonding, and I am still not happy. My dentist is very pleasant and agreeable to redo the bonding as many times as needed, but I’m concerned about how much removing and reapplying I can take. Are my dentist’s repeated mistakes going to ruin my teeth eventually? – Thanks. Turner from Arizona


Your description sounds like your dentist’s ability is more questionable than how many times he can apply and remove dental bonding. Although your Invisalign treatment is complete, your current dentist might not be able to help you reach your smile goals. But first, we will answer your question about applying and removing dental bonding.

Can Dental Bonding Be Removed Without Damaging Your Teeth?

Yes, a dentist can remove dental bonding without damaging your teeth. The concern is if your dentist placed bonding on your tooth enamel or the dentin—the layer beneath the bonding. If a dentist conservatively etches your teeth before bonding, it only affects a small amount of tooth enamel.

Ways to Remove Dental Bonding

A cosmetic dentist might choose one of these options to remove dental bonding from your teeth:

  • Sandpaper disc – A sandpaper disc is flexible and bends with the shape of a tooth. It polishes composite but can also remove it. It will leave a smooth, polished gloss.
  • High-speed carbide drills – When a dentist applies light pressure, a carbide drill can quickly remove composite bonding without damaging tooth enamel. But it’s not as flexible as a sandpaper disc and often leaves streaks of material on teeth. A cosmetic dentist can remove the streaks with a sandpaper disc.
  • Air abrasion – Although most general dentists don’t have air-abrasion equipment in their offices, this technique effectively removes bonding. Cosmetic dentists readily use air abrasion equipment.
  • Sand-blasting nozzles – A micro-etcher, most often used by cosmetic dentists, is a slower method to remove composite. It’s often used as a finishing step.

Should You Let Your Dentistry Try the Bonding Again?

Before-and-after dental bonding photos from Brian LeSage, DDS

If you need dental bonding after Invisalign, these photos from Dr. LeSage show the beautiful results an expert cosmetic can achieve.

Depending on your dentist’s skill and advanced cosmetic dentistry training, he may or may not have these tools in his office. But no doubt, you want to complete your smile makeover and enjoy it. We suggest that you consider getting a second opinion from a dentist with advanced cosmetic dentistry training.

During a consultation, you can discuss your goals with the cosmetic dentist and listen as they explain your treatment options for improving the edges of your teeth with bonding. A cosmetic dentist can seamlessly apply bonding to your teeth and give you a smile you love.


Beverly Hills cosmetic dentist, Dr. Brian LeSage, sponsors this post.

Missing lateral incisors, and a Maryland bridge that keeps breaking

My daughter is 23 years old, and her lateral incisors never erupted. Her dentist recommended braces and left enough space for a Maryland bridge to replace the missing teeth. But since getting the Maryland bridge, the wings on it keep breaking. Each time they break, the dentist cements them on, but this is annoying. My daughter is job searching because she was laid off from work. Now she doesn’t have dental insurance. I’ll help her as much as I can, but I don’t have unlimited funds. We spoke with one dentist who recommends bone grafting and dental implants. Is that better than repeating braces or getting Invisalign to move her teeth closer together and filing down her canines to match the length of the teeth in front? – Thanks. Stephanie from Oregon


If your daughter’s Maryland bridge keeps breaking, it was probably poorly designed. Although braces or Invisalign are great for aligning teeth, we don’t recommend moving canine teeth in place of her incisors. Moving canine teeth with orthodontics isn’t a solution for replacing incisors.

Canine teeth

  • Shape – They are thick and protrude in the front. Moving them to an unnatural position detracts from your smile.
  • Function – Canine teeth protect back teeth from lateral stress. If you move them forward, their purpose is lost.

We included patient photos from mynewsmile.com, a cosmetic dentistry website. The photos are an example of a patient whose lateral incisors didn’t erupt. Her dentist used braces to move her canine teeth into the position of the lateral incisors. Although the dentist shaved her canine teeth, her smile doesn’t look normal.

Before-and-after photos of missing lateral incisors, from mynewsmile.com

Photos courtesy of mynewsmile.com

Replacing Missing Incisors

In the above case, many skilled cosmetic dentists would use orthodontics—Invisalign or braces—to move canine teeth back to their original position and use another treatment to replace the missing teeth. Two options for replacing teeth are dental implants or a dental flipper.

Dental implants – Although your budget is limited, dental implants are the best solution. An implant dentist or oral surgeon places artificial tooth roots in the jawbone. After a healing period, replacement teeth, or crowns, are attached to the top. Implants look and function like natural teeth.

Dental flipper for lateral incisors

Dental flipper
Photo courtesy of mynewsmile.com

Flipper partial – A cosmetic dentist can offer your daughter a well-made flipper partial that looks natural. A flipper includes a plastic plate and replacement teeth. It fits on the palate, and wire clips snap onto back teeth to secure it. Although a flipper is the most affordable option, it isn’t ideal. Some people say that the flipper is uncomfortable and challenging to eat with. Over time, your daughter’s jawbone will continue to shrink.

Dental bridge – Although some dentists might recommend a dental bridge, it requires grinding down your daughter’s healthy teeth to anchor the bridge. Many advanced cosmetic dentists, including Dr. LeSage, preserve healthy teeth and avoid grinding down teeth for crowns.

Schedule an appointment with an advanced cosmetic dentist to examine your daughter’s teeth and the area of the missing incisors. Expect the dentist to recommend dental implants as the first treatment option. If you qualify for financing and affordable payments, implants will be the best long-term solution. But if a dental flipper is the only thing you can afford now, encourage your daughter to think about saving for implants after finding employment and having sufficient income. Implants will be better for her long-term oral health.

Beverly Hills cosmetic dentist, Brian LeSage, DDS, FAGD, FAACD, sponsors this post.

Missing lateral incisors, and a Maryland bridge that keeps breaking

“Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.”
– Thích Nhất Hạnh

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