Composite resins are glass filled plastics that are commonly used as filling materials. Over the years they have become smoother and more color stable. They make good restorations for small to medium size fillings. In larger fillings they can act as a provisional until a more durable restoration can be placed.
The procedure starts by isolating your teeth with a synthetic rubber guard. The teeth to be treated are lightly sanded. Any old filling material and decay is removed.
In deeper restorations a protective liner is placed near the nerve. A special conditioning solution is then applied to the teeth. This allows the composite to bond to the tooth surface. The composite material is applied as a soft putty.
When the proper shape has been attained it is then hardened by the application of a blue light source. The hardened composite material is then given its final shape and polish.
The final composite restoration can provide the patient with excellent esthetics. It is often very difficult to distinguish the composite resin from the original tooth surface.
Direct composite resins have some limitations. It is not possible to determine their exact color and final appearance. Initially, these restorations become lighter or darker immediately after placement. cosmetic bonding whiteIn addition, over time they will usually slightly change color again. Occasionally a composite will have to be resurfaced to achieve a better color match. In some mouths, particularly in smokers, composite resins may discolor and pick up surface stains. Generally, these stains can be removed during regular cleaning and maintenance visits.
Direct composite resin veneers, though a conservative mode of treatment, are not permanent. With aging it is common for the edges of composites to chip and discolor. It is possible these areas could decay if they are not kept clean by regular brushing. In time, small pits may also develop in composite surfaces. After a longer period of time, as in all fillings, the material will weaken and may break under normal chewing.
Composites can also be damaged or broken under high forces e.g.: by attempting to pry objects with your teeth. As with all restorations, the gum tissues are more susceptible to irritation. However, this is usually prevented with conscientious home care.
Generally speaking, composites may be expected to last between 5-8 years in anterior teeth and 3-6 years. After this time the restorations may be redone or replaced with more durable porcelain restorations.
We feel with all things considered, composite restorations offer the patient a conservative method of treating damaged or unattractive teeth. We feel confident that they are a good choice for many of our patients and can offer them a pleasing smile for many years to come.