What are Composite Restorations?

Composite is the word dentists use for white, tooth coloured, filling material. It is used in lots of situations,

  • to replace old black fillings,
  • to restore when there is a cavity,
  • to restore eroded or worn teeth
  • to cosmetically enhance the shape of teeth
  • and just about any combination of the above.

The composite we use is a combination of a resin matrix and fillers, which are different  types of hard silica. We work with different composites, flowable composite to put into small , non-weightbearing areas, thicker densely coloured composite, to provide the colour and strength in the main part of the cavity or bonded restoration, and more translucent composites to replicate dental enamel.

Advantages of composite

  • Composite makes minimal intervention possible. Small cavities don’t need to be extended for strength.
  • It is possible to blend composite on to tooth material to give a good aesthetic result.
  • Composite restorations can be easily repaired.

Disadvantages of composite

  • Composite isn’t ideal for restoration of a very large cavity when sides of the tooth are missing- it isn’t strong enough.
  • The edges of composite fillings can stain.
  • Composite isn’t as shiny as real tooth material or porcelain. Composite fillings at the front don’t stay as shiny as when they were done. This can be easily rectified by regular polishing.

Composite buildups

Composite can be used to open up the bite when the teeth are worn out, which restores the aesthetic appearance and improves the bite. This procedure doesn’t normally involve numbing the teeth. The composite is used to put the teeth back to their original shape which may result in opening a gap between the back teeth. Normally this is a very reliable procedure, sometimes called the Dahl technique. There is a change to the bite which is even on both sides, the signals to the brain are disrupted and it can adapt to the new bite. Over the next 6-9 months the back teeth move back into a biting position. Eating is strange at first but most people adapt to this really well. It’s a great way of gaining space when the teeth are worn out against each other.

We can expect these buildup restorations to last 5-7 years. It may be possible to keep them polished and repaired for many years. Of course when wear and smashing of the teeth has occurred previously it may keep happening so it can be necessary to protect the teeth by wearing a nightguard of hard or soft plastic material. The composite can also be considered as a precursor to eventual porcelain crowns.

For more information on composite bonding call our friendly team on 0131 225 7576.

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