Probably the most important thing to have in a beautiful smile is that ALL of your visible teeth should be one colour.
If you’re looking at a smile and one or two teeth are a different colour than the rest – particularly if they’re black or silver, it’s a distraction. It may even look like a tooth is missing if the tooth is really darkened.
This problem can be easily fixed by replacing the old blackened silver fillings with newer modern tooth coloured alternatives.
The three most common techniques used for restoring teeth are:
Composite (plastic) fillings
These can last a very long time if 60% of your tooth structure remains. Below this figure the tooth has lost a significant amount of its strength and rigidity. Porcelain inlays are an alternative to composite fillings and in almost all circumstances they offer an even more durable and beautiful solution.
Porcelain inlays and onlays
These porcelain restorations are used when only 40% to 60% of your tooth structure remains.
They are made in a laboratory by master ceramicists and are much stronger than the plastic restorations.
They require two visits:
These are useful when less than 40% of your tooth structure remains. When only this much structure remains there is not enough tooth structure to hold a filling or an onlay.
A crown covers the whole tooth and acts to splint and protect it from breaking or fracturing.
Composite Resin Fillings FAQ’s
What is Composite Resin filling?
Composite resin is a tooth-coloured plastic material filled with fine glass particles for strength and stability.
As well as restoring decayed areas, composite resin can also be used for cosmetic improvements of the smile.
It can readily be used to change the colour of the teeth or to reshape disfigured teeth.
Like an artist moulds clay, we can mould, shape, and sculpt the resin on your tooth.
How is a composite placed?
Following tooth preparation, the tooth involved (as well as those on either side of it) is isolated with rubber dam. This isolation is an extremely important part of the process.
Composite resin of various colours and translucencies are placed in separate layers. The layers are used to produce a life-like restoration.
Each layer is hardened individually with a very bright ‘curing light’.
When all resin is placed and set hard, we adjust the shape of the tooth to fit in with the bite and to return it to an ideal tooth form.
We then polish the composite resin to a high shine to give it a beautiful appearance as well as to prevent staining and early wear.
How long does it take to place a composite resin filling?
It takes us between 30-60 minutes to place a composite, depending on its size and position. A fair portion of this time is often dedicated to the isolation of the tooth with a rubber dam.
What is the cost of placing a composite resin filling?
Prices vary based on the number of surfaces involved.
They are at least two times the cost of a silver filling based on increased time and material costs. They are far more technically difficult to isolate and place than amalgam when done by the textbook.
Unfortunately, most dental insurance plans have been slow to increase their cost coverage beyond the price of a silver filling. This is only serving to encourage some dentists to take short cuts to reduce the time taken to place them.
What are the advantages of composite resin filling?
Composite fillings can be blended to appear like natural tooth structure.
They bond to remaining tooth structure which can help splint and support the remaining structure. This will help to prevent breakage and insulate the tooth from temperature changes.
They are cheaper to place than laboratory produced porcelain inlays and onlays.
What are the disadvantages of composite resin filling?
Composite fillings are not as colour fast as porcelain inlays or onlays, particularly if your diet is heavy with staining foods and drinks.
They are not as strong as porcelain restorations and cannot support the tooth as well when more than 40% of tooth structure is lost.
How long will a composite last?
The literature quotes a similar longevity to amalgam of an average of 8 years.
This life span can only be expected when the material is placed correctly and used in situations where moderate tooth structure remains.
Inlays, onlays or crowns would be recommended for very large restorations.
Want to Know More?
Would you like any further information about anything you’ve read on this page? Leave your details below and I’ll get back to you shortly.
(Note: I hate spam and I will never use these details for any other reason than to provide you with the information that you seek)