Dental fillings are placed into a tooth to replace missing tooth structure. This can occur due to decay (caries), tooth fracture, chipping or tooth wear.
Today, most dental fillings are tooth coloured, and rely on adhesive bonding technology to the tooth structure. This reduces the need to remove extra tooth substance, which was the case with older silver fillings.
Composite Dental Fillings
Composite (white) fillings are now routinely used on posterior teeth due to improvements in strength and technique.They are moisture sensitive so often the use of a rubber dam is required. They can bond onto existing filled or broken down teeth, and teeth where the decay has been removed. They offer excellent aesthetic results on front anterior teeth due to their ability to reflect light similarly to enamel. They are often a viable treatment option to veneers or crowns.
Treatment involves isolation of the tooth and removal of all decay or weak tooth structure. A bevelled surface enhances the bond. The surfaces are etched with phosphoric acid. This is then rinsed and dried. A bonding agent is then applied and light cured. The composite material is then added incrementally to the tooth to recreate the natural shape and colour of the original tooth. This is again light cured after each increment is added. Polishing and finishing gives a strong result with a natural feel and appearance.
Treatment is normally carried under local anaesthetic and takes between 15-45 minutes depending on the tooth surface area. This can be longer depending on the complexity of the restoration. There may be some sensitivity afterwards which normally disappears with time. Patients can normally eat and drink soon afterwards.
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