Composite Resin Fillings
Fillings were traditionally made of metal amalgam, but in recent years white fillings have become increasingly popular due to aesthetic and environmental reasons. We offer a range of cosmetic fillings designed to strengthen the teeth without affecting smile aesthetics. There are various options available and the type used depends on the size and location of the cavity.
The simplest kind of white filling is made from dental composite, which contains quartz resin and a light sensitive agent. The fillings are very natural looking and can be fitted in a single appointment. Composite fillings can be used for the front and back teeth, and there are different shades available to ensure the filling blends in with the natural tooth colour. Some composite fillings have been specially designed for the back teeth and can withstand a great deal of force.
Composite fillings are bonded to the teeth, but before this process takes places, the tooth is cleaned and any decayed tissue removed. The bonding process involves applying a thin layer of resin to the tooth, which bonds to the prepared surface of the affected tooth. Bonding makes fillings more durable and modern fillings are much stronger than their older counterparts.
Once the composite material has been bonded, an intensive light beam will be used to harden the filling. This usually takes around 40 seconds, but we use the latest plasma light technology to harden fillings in just 6 seconds. During the setting process we will protect our eyes using an orange mask – you will not need to wear a mask because you only see the light once, but we are used to seeing it on a regular basis. It is nonetheless advisable to look away from the light.
Many of our patients ask the same questions after having a filling: 'When can I eat?' And the answer is, 'Straight away!' The fillings are solidified by the light instantly, meaning the tooth will be restored to full strength. You may experience increased sensitivity for a short period of time, and if this persists speak to your dental practitioner.
Indirect composite/ porcelain inlay
Another kind of white filling is a composite or porcelain inlay, which is used for bigger cavities because they are more durable and tend to last longer. Porcelain inlays are generally used when the aesthetic of the smile is paramount, as porcelain looks natural and has a glossy finish. Inlays are manufactured in the lab and bonded in the dental chair to enhance their durability. They require two appointments, but the finished result is worth the wait.
Bonding uses composite resin to restore chipped or broken teeth, fill in gaps, fix cavities and reshape or recolor your smile. The same material used for bonding is used for making tooth colored fillings, which appear more natural. Your dentist applies the resin and sculpts, colors and shapes it to provide a pleasing result. A special light, operating at a specific wavelength, hardens the material, which is then adjusted and polished.
Bonding resin composite fillings differs from crowns in that bonding can be done within a single visit, while crowns require a dental lab to manufacture the tooth . Additionally, bonded restorations are much less expensive then crowns , since there are no lab costs involved. Bonded restorations are usually very conservative when it comes to reducing tooth structure, and can also be used to protect over exposed root surfaces in order to reduce tooth sensitivity.
The answer depends on what the bonding was used for, where in the mouth it was placed, and how well it is cared for. If you place bonding on the biting edge of your front tooth, and like to chew on pen caps or bite your nails, then that bonding is not going to last long. Bonding will usually last for several years or more before needing repair, however, in some areas it can last for many more years with the proper care. Acid reflux and over imbibing in alcohol can weaken the bonded restorations. Teeth grinding can wear down these bonded restorations, but severe teeth grinding will also wear down your own enamel, along with silver fillings and porcelain restorations. With the proper care, bonding is a wonderful way to restore and improve your smile.
The composite resin (tooth-colored) fillings have come a long way in recent years. Their strength and longevity are now comparable to that of the silver fillings, but with much-enhanced esthetics. The dentist has the capability to match the filling exactly to the shade and color of your tooth so that no one else will ever know you had a cavity. Another advantage of these tooth-colored restorations is that the preparation is relatively conservative. Only decay is removed, and the filling is then bonded to the area that has been prepared. Silver fillings do not have the same bonding capacity, and therefore rely on mechanical retention to hold the filling in place. As a result, good tooth structure is taken away to create the ideal depth and undercuts required to achieve adequate retention. Another advantage of composite restorations is that they are typically less sensitive to hot or cold, as metal tends to conduct temperature more readily.
Reports were made claiming that there have been miraculous "cures" for a variety of medical conditions after these types of restorations are removed, and that dental amalgam is a potential source of mercury toxicity. Mercury constitutes approximately 50% of dental amalgams, and trace amounts of mercury vapor escape in the process of chewing ,increasing the temperature (drinking hot fluid) in Silver fillings, and that its removal has been suspected but to have beneficial effects on a patient's specific medical condition. Most dentists utilize mostly the composite resin fillings, not just because of health concerns with Amalgam, but rather because they are more conservative in terms of reducing tooth structure and because they are much more esthetically pleasing.