White (tooth coloured) composite resin fillings are an excellent option to fill small to medium-sized cavities in teeth. Since the mid-1990s there have been quantum leaps in the reliability and longevity of this type of filling material.
Dental composite resins are made the polymerisation of a monomer such as Bis-GMA, TEGMA or UDMA. These materials take on a chameleon effect and blend in beautifully with the existing tooth colour due to the presence of quartz silica filler particles embedded inside the resin. Recently there has been concerns over the hormone disrupting effect of bisphenol A (BPA). BPA is found in many plastic food ware, industrial and other uses. We have focused on minimising the small risk of exposure of this toxin by eliminating Bis-GMA containing composite resins from our dental practice.
Composite resins are an extremely versatile filling material due to the following reasons:
- They have an excellent range of tooth colours
- They preserve the remaining tooth structure (unlike dental amalgams) and can be easily repaired when necessary.
- They are metal-free, and thus do not corrode and are ideal for patients with a metal sensitivity.
- They do not produce galvanic electrical currents in the mouth or adversely affect the acupuncture meridians of the body when placed carefully into a tooth.
- They offer a suitable short to medium-term solution for patients who may require a ceramic onlay or crown in the future.
The picture to the left is a before and after photograph of a patient who has had their old amalgam fillings replaced with white composite resin fillings.
When tooth cavities are of a moderate to large size, it is best to restore them with an indirect ceramic (tooth coloured porcelain) onlay or a crown. Onlays and crowns will protect your teeth are stronger than resin fillings and they reduce the chance of tooth breakage, cracking and sensitivity in general.
It is often best to discuss these options with your dentist before any work is performed in your mouth to ensure you are informed and understand clearly what the best options are for you.