When you need a filling?
To treat a cavity our dentist will gently remove the soft decayed part of the tooth. Then fill with suitable dental material that looks natural and lasting. There are a few types of filling materials, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Generally, our dentist will discuss with you and select the most appropriate material for your tooth. For patients, knowing what is available can help you to make the best choice for your mouth.
Composite resin is the most popular choice of restoration material due to its unsurpassed natural looking appearance and superior physical characteristic. Usually, it is composed of mixture of resin (Bis-GMA, TEGMA, UDMA, HDDMA) and filler (nano sized silica, ceramic particle). Today, composite resin is a reliable and predictable filling material thanks to its continual improvement in formulations, optimization of physical and optical properties. At The Smile Dental Lounge, we carefully select the premium brand of composite and bonding agent that have long proven clinical success. The advantages of composite filling include :
The main advantage of composite is its superior optical quality that able to mimic natural tooth shade and translucency. Composites come in a wide range of tooth colour. Thus, allowing dentist to create near invisible filling. For this reason, composite is definitely the top choice in filling material for front teeth.
Bonding to tooth structure
Yes, composite resin actually bonded micro-mechanically to enamel and dentine. This unique characteristic helps to strengthen the remaining tooth structure and restore its original physical integrity. The resin formed a microscopic hybrid layer between the composite material and surface of dentine. Infiltration of bonding agent into the dentinal tubules creates adhesive tags that are responsible for the bonding. High bond strength to tooth structure is now possible with the improvement in latest generations of dentine bonding agent.
Conservative tooth preparation
Thanks to the high tech bonding to tooth structure, dentist has no longer had to create retentive feature in the cavity preparation like they used to in amalgam filling. We can preserve healthy tooth structure after minimally invasive caries removal. This helps to maintain tooth integrity and reduce risk of fracture or developing a crack over the years.
Dentist can add or repair composite filling easily without removing the whole filing. In case of small chip off, it is possible to add new composite on existing filling, provided there is no underlying problem. Once ready, the assistant will shine the blue light on the composite to make it hardened within seconds. Composite achieves its ultimate strength right away, enabling patient to use the tooth to bite and chew straight away after your dental visit.
Unlike other metal option, composite resin does not corrode at all. It has now improved wear characteristic and ability to retained its gloss in many years, making it a lasting option.
Another tooth coloured filling material is glass ionomer cement (GIC). It is based on the reaction of silicate glass-powder (calcium aluminofluorosilicate glass) and and polyacrylic acid. The major advantage of GIC is its fluorosis releasing capability that helps to prevent future decay. GIC is also more hydrophilic, making them to be an alternative of moisture sensitive composite resin in the cases where optimum moisture control is difficult to achieve. Interestingly, GIC chemically bonded to tooth structure by formation of ionic bonds between carboxylate groups (in GIC) and calcium (in the tooth). GIC is commonly used in kids or caries prone individual where the filling site is not particularly subjected to heavy biting forces.
This type of silver filling has more than 150 years of clinical history. It is made from amalgamation of metal alloy (tin, copper, silver, zinc) and mercury. Despite the scary “mercury” in the ingredient list, amalgam has long proven safety record supported by reliable scientific researches done worldwide. It is very strong and long-lasting. However, the metal appearance, invasive cavity preparation, patient acceptance and tendency to develop cracked tooth have limited its use in recent years. Amalgam doesn’t bond to tooth structure. That’s why additional tooth structure has to be removed after caries removal in order to create retentive features. We do not recommend to remove or replace amalgam in good condition. Unless it is defective or developed secondary caries. This practice is in line with FDA recommendation in this matter. Many alternatives are now available including composite filling, indirect inlay and onlay.
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