Restoring Teeth and Maintaining Teeth With Resin Composites, Porcelain and Sealants

Resin composites describes a variety of materials used as dental fillings. These fillings are dental_healtha mixture of finely ground glass or quartz particles in a resin compound and used to fill cavities. They are often called composite fillings. “Resins have some interesting advantages—they don’t require as much removal of tooth structure and they bond, becoming part of the tooth,” says Dr. Carol Ford from her Phoenix dental office.

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), composites may take a bit longer to place in a tooth than an amalgam (metal) filling, but it can easily be done in a normal dental appointment.  In fact, the advantages of composites include requiring a single appointment and, when complete, match the color of the existing tooth. “Cosmetic appearance is important as most patients smile, laugh, or speak a lot, particularly if they are in a position to deal with many other people,” Dr. Ford says. “That first impression can mean a lot to a business, and a bright, clean smile can help make an excellent first impression,” Dr. Ford continues.

The advantages of a composite filling, according to WebMD, include color matching and use in more ways than just decay repair. Composites can be used to repair chips, cracks, or worn teeth.

Glass ionomers is another type of composite. Made of acrylic acids and powdered glass, they are used in cavities near the root of the tooth, especially in children. One of the advantages of glass ionomer (sometimes nicknamed ‘glomers’) is that they can release small amounts of fluoride, making it practical for use in preventing decay. While glass ionomers can’t take a lot of grinding, they are well-suited for use on the sides of teeth, giving an excellent cosmetic appearance.

Porcelain and ceramics can also used in restorative work, although this glass-like material is mostly used in crowns, inlays, and veneers.

Sealants are used to prevent cavities, rather than patching them. Sealants are a plastic covering. “The biting surface of the back teeth can naturally have deep grooves, “ says Dr. Ford. “It’s easy for these grooves to gather bacteria that are hard to remove with a toothbrush,” she adds. Sealants fill these grooves and prevent cavities. No removal of tooth structure is required, and they will eventually need to be replaced, but while it is in place, the tooth is easier to maintain.

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