Composite Restorations: White Fillings
Traditionally, dental fillings require the removal of decay, plus also the removal of healthy tooth structure, to create geometric boxes to then be filled with amalgam (silver) or tooth-colored composite (resin). (Fig. 1) The traditional aggressive preparation can be very detrimental to the tooth and often lead to subgingival margins, with less healthy gums.
Fillings may appear simple, but complication can arise, depending on the technique being used. Some of those complications are:
- Long-term irritation of the nerve and pain with cold and heat
- Filling material left below the gum, becoming a permanent irritant to the health of the gums
- Permanent nerve damage leading to root canals, etc.
Using supra-gingival minimally invasive techniques can greatly diminish the chances of these side effects because great effort is placed in removing as little tooth as possible, preserving the health of the pulp (nerve) and to avoid placing materials below the gum, thus keeping the health of the gums. (Fig. 2 shows a comparison of two styles of tooth preparations and how much tooth can be saved by staying above the gums.)