One of the most common dental problems experienced around the world today is tooth decay. 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 white or tooth colored restorers. Tooth-colored fillings are the preferred restoration options for both front and back teeth.
Back in the day, the white restaurateurs out there didn’t have much spunk. This made them brittle and prone to breakage if a strong force was applied to them. For this reason, materials such as silver amalgam or direct fill gold were often used for filling a molar or premolar. However, the advent of science has led to many improvements in tooth colored fillings.
Advanced white fillings adhere better to tooth structure, require no etching process and have superior strength compared to materials available in the past. The strength of tooth-colored fillings available today is comparable to silver amalgam and direct-fill gold restorations. Therefore, they are suitable for use on any tooth, including molars, where the chewing force puts a lot of strain 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 not possible with materials such as amalgam or gold.
When material such as amalgam is to be placed, much of the tooth structure must be affected to hold the material in place in 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 connection between the tooth and the restorative is created with the aid of an adhesive. This reduces the amount of tooth reduction that needs to be performed, preserving the strength of the tooth to be restored.
Earlier 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 also due to a marginal gap between the tooth and the restorative material. However, the advent of the material has eliminated the etching process and negated 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, fillings that use tooth-colored restoratives appear to have a better longevity compared to materials such as amalgam or gold.
During the first visit, the dentist will examine the tooth and also take X-rays to assess the depth of the decay and determine if this filling material is sufficient to restore the tooth. At the next visit, the tooth will be ready to remove all tooth decay.
Once the tooth preparation is complete, the tooth is isolated to prevent contamination from saliva. The prepared area of the tooth is then covered with a thin layer of binder 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 anatomy of the tooth, and then cured with the light source.
This process is repeated incrementally until the entire prepared framework is restored. After this, the bite is checked and adjusted so that the filling lies comfortably in the mouth. The restoration is then finished and polished with suitable polishing materials.
Tooth-colored fillings are a suitable material for restoring the strength of a tooth damaged by tooth decay. These materials are not only strong, they are also aesthetically pleasing and thus avoid unnecessary embarrassment to see unsightly fillers in your mouth.