In previous generations, dentists would treat any tooth decay by trying to save the affected tooth, first and foremost. Assuming that they were able to, they would then fill the gap left when the decay was removed using amalgams. These did the job, but they were far from ideal. Much has changed these days, so how do dentists deal with fillings now and why is this beneficial to you?
How Fillings Have Changed with the Times
The dental industry is moving away from the use of artificial amalgams as restorations. These amalgams were primarily composed of metals, and while they were hard wearing, they were far from ideal. There was a possibility that the metal could react with the rest of the body and cause health issues, and they were also a different colour than the original and surrounding teeth.
Now, your dentist will take what is called a "biomimetic" approach by using materials that are designed to mimic the original tooth. These are created from porcelains and composite resins and have been shown to be safer over time.
Strength in Nature
These new materials are able to bond to the dentin and enamel that make up an original tooth and are extremely strong as a consequence. They will put up with the significant biting forces typically found in back teeth, and the untrained eye will not be able to distinguish them from their natural counterparts. In fact, the dental porcelain used can be manufactured in a variety of different shades and colours, and these can be very closely matched with the patient's existing teeth.
How the Process Is Applied
The industry certainly underwent a breakthrough when it was discovered that these composite resins would naturally adhere to the enamel and the dentin, opening the doors to adhesive dentistry. To enable this to happen, the host surface is sealed using a resin coating to create a very safe and strong bond and to get over the tendency of the introduced material to shrink. This allows the dentist to add layers to the composite and shape the tooth very precisely so that it not only matches the surrounding teeth, but also provides the right function.
Planning Your Improvements
So, when you next visit the dentist for some restorative work you can be assured that a combination of science and art is being applied, in order to come up with a truly lifelike and functional replacement.
For more information, talk with your family dentist in the area.