A Composite filling is both good and bad
A composite filling is usually done in one visit. Composites are tooth coloured. In contrast to an amalgam filling, composite can bond to the tooth, seal the filling and is more durable.
When setting, a composite will not expand. It will shrink. The shrinkage of the composite does not affect smaller cavities, but for larger cavities, the shrinkage increases and stresses the bond.
If the majority of the occlusal surface (tooth surface in contact with a tooth in the other jaw) consists of composite, the wear of the tooth will increase due to the less resistant nature of the composite material.
The shrinkage during bonding also creates tension leaving the tooth with increased sensitivity. While this is temporary, it is not harmful.
During cleaning, deep cavities are often found between the teeth.
Same tooth, as above, seen from the side. Note how deep the cavity is.
The shrinkage of composite during bonding creates a gap for bacteria to migrate into, increasing the risk of new caries.
Deeper cavities between the teeth
The deepest cavities are often located between the teeth due to the difficulty of cleaning this area.
The deeper the cavity, the bigger the risk of leakage from the bond, resulting in higher risk of new caries.
Crown or onlay
If the majority of the natural crown of the tooth is missing, it is better to build a new crown or an onlay.
There are a number of advantages with this kind of treatment: There is minimal tension between the tooth and the crown; it is easier to imitate the shape of the natural tooth; and the fit is more precise. Since the crown is more durable, it ensures a longer lifespan for the tooth.
The composite filling failed to recreate the contact point between the teeth. As a result, food will get trapped in the gap while eating. An inlay/crown will solve the problem.
Composite is a good restoration option, but best suited for small- to medium-sized cavities for the reasons mentioned above.
Crowns and inlays/onlays are more expensive because they have to be custom-made in a laboratory – we make our own at Snö – but due to the improved durability, it is a recommended treatment for larger cavities.
An onlay has a precise fit to the tooth and reduces the attrition. Materials of choice are gold or ceramic.
When a large portion of the tooth is missing, a ceramic crown is the best treatment, as it bonds to the tooth well.
Learn more about our services in teeth restorations