One of the most common dental problems experienced around the world today is cavities. The usual treatment procedure for tooth decay is the placement of a restorative. In earlier times, unsightly materials such as gold or silver amalgam were used. Today it is much more common to see tooth-colored or white restorers. Tooth-colored fillings are preferred for restorative options on both anterior and posterior teeth.
In earlier times, the white restorers that were available didn't have much punch. This made them vulnerable and subject to breakage if strong force was applied to them. For this reason, materials such as direct-filled silver or gold amalgam were often used to fill a molar or premolar. However, the advent of science has led to many improvements in tooth-colored fillings.
Advanced white fillings adhere better to the tooth structure, do not require an etching process, and have superior strength compared to materials available in the past. The strength of currently available tooth colored fillings is comparable to that of direct-fill silver and gold amalgam restorations. Therefore, they are suitable for use on any tooth, including molars, where the force of chewing puts a lot of pressure on the material.
Benefits of tooth-colored fillings
There are many advantages to using these fillings over other materials used to restore a tooth.
The main advantage that can be obtained from the use of white fillings is the aesthetic finish of the restoration. The restorative material is available in many different shades to match the color of the tooth to be restored, providing superior aesthetics that is not possible when using materials such as amalgam or gold.
When a material such as an amalgam is to be placed, much of the tooth structure must be affected to keep the material in place on the tooth. This is because there is no direct bond between the amalgam and the tooth, and it is maintained only by the mechanical retention properties of the preparation. With tooth-colored fillings, a direct bond is produced between the tooth and the restorative with the help of an adhesive. This reduces the amount of tooth reduction that needs to be done, preserving the strength of the tooth to be restored.
Previous versions of this filling material had problems such as the development of sensitivity in the restored tooth. This was mainly due to the etching process prior to filling the tooth and was also due to a marginal leak between the tooth and the restorative material. However, the arrival of the material has eliminated the etching process and nullified the marginal leakage, reducing the appearance of susceptibility.
The improved strength of tooth-colored fillings has resulted in better resistance to fracture, especially in fillings that do not have much tooth support. Therefore, tooth-colored restorative fillings appear to have greater longevity compared to materials such as amalgam or gold.
During the first visit, the dentist will examine the tooth and will also take X-rays to assess the depth of the decay and determine if this filling material is adequate to restore the tooth. At the next visit, the tooth will be ready to remove all cavities.
Once tooth preparation is complete, the tooth is isolated to avoid contamination by saliva. The prepared area of the tooth is then covered with a thin layer of adhesive and then cured with a suitable light source. After this, the tooth-colored filling material is placed on the prepared area, shaped to match the tooth's anatomy, and then cured with the light source.
This process is repeated step by step until the entire prepared framework is restored. After this, the bite is checked and adjusted so that the filling is comfortable in the mouth. The restoration is then finished and polished with suitable polishing materials.
Tooth-colored fillings are suitable material to restore the strength of a tooth damaged by decay. These materials are not only strong, but they are also aesthetically pleasing, thus avoiding the unnecessary embarrassment of seeing unsightly fillers in your mouth.