What is the composite resin?
An alternative to amalgam fillings are composite
fillings (also named resin fillings ) which is a tooth colored plastic mixture filled with glass (silicon dioxide). Introduced
in the 1960s, dental composites were limited to the front teeth because they lacked the strength needed to withstand the pressure
and wear generated by the back teeth. In 1980 the first bonding systems were introduced, which allowed the better bond
between the filling and tooth structure. Since then, composites and bonding agents have been significantly improved
and can be successfully placed in the back teeth as well.
What are the advantages of composite filling compare to amalgam?
a lot of controversy around mercury in amalgams, one can argue that the main advantage of the the composite resin filling
is lack of mercury and all toxic effects it may cause to your health.
- Another main advantage is the aesthetics. Composite resins come in different
shades allowing dentist to create almost undetectable to the naked eye filling.
- Even though the material it self is not as strong as the amalgam,
once bonded and placed inside the tooth, it creates much stonger conglomerate.
- Composite fillings has a termo-expansion degree much closer
to the tooth structure than those of the amalgam. As the result of this the tooth with big amalgam fillings can easily crack,
compare to the tooth filled with composite fillingWhat
are the disadvantages compare to amalgam fillings?
- Higher cost
- Extra placement time
- Placement of composite fillings require better skills and sometimes additional
training (depending on the dental school doctor graduates from)
- one can argue that patient can experience more postoperative sensitivity
with the composite resin fillings. With the advances in bonding agencies and use of proper techniques the postoperative sensitivity
is becoming more and more rare complication
materials are porous which means that certain foods and beverages that we consume along with smoking can stain the restoration.
- Composites tend to wear out sooner than
silver fillings in larger cavities, although they hold up as well in small cavities.
- Alcohol is a solvent for the composite fillings, excess use
of alcohol reduces life of a filling. This is important to remember while choosing the mouthwash. (use alchohol free
How the composite
fillings are done?
the removal of all decay, and insuring that there is no exposure to the pulp (like with any restotation) ,
the dentist will chemically treat the tooth with a special bonding agent. Because of the much higher retention of composit
filling, additional mechanical retention is not required compare to the preparation for the amalgam filling. In a lot
of cases this will allow more conservative preparation with preserving more tooth structure. Applied bonding will
penetrate inside tooth structure to give a stronger bond to the filling. Then dentist places the composite in layers,
using a special light to harden each layer. The final step is to trim off the excess material, to adjust
the bite and to give is a thorough polish that prevents staining and early wear. Because a composite is placed incrementally
and the process is more laborious than silver fillings, it takes the dentist about 10-20 minutes longer to place depending
on the size and location of the cavity.