One of the most common dental problems experienced all over the world today is dental decay. The usual treatment procedure for dental decay is the placement of a restorative. In earlier times, the restorative used was unsightly materials such as gold or silver amalgam. These days, it is much more common to see tooth colored or white restoratives. Tooth colored fillings are preferred restorative choices both in front teeth as well as in the back teeth.
In earlier times, the white colored restoratives that were available did not have much strength. This made them fragile and subject to breakage if any hard force was exerted on them. Therefore, for filling a molar tooth or a premolar tooth, materials such as silver amalgam or direct filling gold were commonly used. However, the advent of science has resulted in a lot of improvements in tooth colored fillings.
The advanced white fillings have better bonding to the structure of the tooth, do not need any etching process and have superior strength in comparison to the materials that were available in the past. The strength of tooth colored fillings that are available today are comparable to silver amalgam and direct filling gold restoratives. Thus, they are suitable for use in any tooth including molars, where force of mastication exerts lots of stress on the material.
Advantages of Tooth Colored Fillings
There are many advantages of using these fillings over other materials used for restoring a tooth.
The main advantage that one can get by using white fillings is the esthetic finish of the restoration. The restorative material is available in many different shades to match the shade of the tooth to be restored, thereby providing superior esthetics, which is not possible when using materials like amalgam or gold.
When material like amalgam has to be placed, lot of tooth structure has to be compromised in order to hold the material in its position within the tooth. This is because, there is no direct bonding between amalgam and the tooth, and it is only held with mechanical retentive properties of the preparation. In tooth color fillings, a direct bonding between the tooth and the restorative occurs with the help of a bonding agent. This reduces the amount of tooth reduction that needs to be made, thus preserving the strength of the tooth being restored.
Earlier versions of this filling material had problems like development of sensitivity in the restored tooth. This was mainly caused due to the etching process before filling the tooth and also due to marginal leakage between the tooth and the restorative material. However, advent of the material has eliminated etching process and negated the marginal leakage, thereby reducing the occurrence of sensitivity.
The improved strength of the tooth color fillings has resulted in better resistance to fracture, especially in fillings that do not have much support from the tooth. So, fillings using tooth colored restorative materials seem to have better life in comparison to materials like amalgam or gold.
During the initial visit, the dentist will examine the tooth and also take X-rays to evaluate the depth of the decay and determine if this filling material is suitable for restoring the tooth. In the following visit, the tooth will be prepared to rid all the dental decay.
Once the tooth preparation is completed, the tooth is isolated to avoid contamination from saliva. The prepared area of the tooth is then coated with a thin layer of a bonding agent and then cured with a suitable light source. After this, the tooth colored filling material is then placed in the prepared area, shaped to match the tooth anatomy and then cured with the light source.
This process is repeated in increments till the entire prepared structure is restored. After this, the bite is checked and adjusted to make the filling comfortable in the mouth. The restoration is then finished and polished using suitable polishing materials.
Tooth colored fillings is a suitable material for restoring the strength of a tooth that has been damaged by decay. These materials are not only strong, they are also esthetic, thus avoiding unnecessary embarrassment of having to see unsightly filling materials in the mouth.