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White Fillings - Composite Resin


A composite resin is a tooth coloured plastic resin filling material used to restore chipped teeth, decayed teeth and also to replace amalgam fillings. For the scientist, chemical engineers out there the exact composition is a Bis GMA monomers, mixed with dimethacrylates, silica filler particles and a photo initiator. The composite resin that our general dentists use at Dental Essence is AesthetiX From Dentsply. It’s a nano micro hybrid which allows for more filler particles and reduces polymerisation contraction of the composite resin.


What this means is we use the best material with the least volume contraction. When we cure a composite resin it actually shrinks, and the lower the amount of shrinkage, the better. This shrinkage is caused by the resin component. If there is a greater amount of shrinkage, more gaps can occur between the filling and the tooth. This can result in bacteria infiltration and decay formation, known as microleakage.


In simple English, composite resins are the standard filling material that dentist use today. There are other alternatives to white fillings such as Amalgams (silver) or Porcelain fillings. You can discuss the alternatives with our dentist at Dental Essence and make an informed decision as to which one suits you.


The Advantages of Composite Resin:


  1. Less tooth structure is removed compared to amalgam. Composite resin is bonded using micro mechanical retention, and requires less tooth structure to be removed. Amalgam on the other hand needs to have grooves, hooks and under cuts in order to secure the amalgam in its place. 
  2. Composite resin bonds to your tooth, as opposed to filling it. It bonds to the tooth structure using acid etch and bonding adhesives. This allows the material to be used for bonding and veneering, outside of the tooth.
  3. Composite resin is inexpensive in comparison to Porcelain. Porcelain being more durable and colour stable costs more.
  4. The procedure takes one visit to complete, as opposed to Porcelain restorations made by a dental lab which take two visits. A Cerec CAD-CAM porcelain restoration will take 1 visit, but the colour does not blend in perfectly. White fillings take one visit in comparison.


The Disadvantages of Composite Resin:


  1. Composite resin is not as strong or durable as porcelain or amalgam. It will also exhibit some minor wear. Composite resin (bonding) veneers will chip and fracture more frequently than porcelain veneers. 
  2. Not as colour stable as porcelain in terms of colour stability. Composite resin material is made from plastic. For the first two years it will look great, but as time goes by as you eat, drink coffee or red wine, smoke, use tomato sauce, you will discolour the composite resin. As you eat and chew food, the surface of the composite resin is scratched and gradually stains stick to the filling. You can think of composite resin as similar to plastic Tupperware; over time your plastic Tupperware will collect stains as its surface is scratched and stains collect in the small grooves. 
  3. Tooth needs to be kept dry and isolated and is technique sensitive.

.before- amalgam fillings

After white willings