Placement of dental fillings is one of the most common and routine procedures at any dentist’s office. Fillings are most often applied when patients do not visit their dentist often, which gives the caries time to wreak havoc. However, if a patient has visited before caries had a chance to spread throughout a tooth, by applying composite or ceramic fillings it is possible to restore the complete structural vitality to that tooth, as well as to achieve the appearance of a healthy tooth, even to the slightest detail.
Composite fillings are made of polymers, quartz and ceramic, coming in various proportions. If they contain a large percentage of ceramic, the fillings look and feel like ceramic crowns. Opting for composite or ceramic fillings rather than amalgam ones is very important for a patient, since we are now able to fully erect a tooth even when there is only little of the healthy substance left to support the filling. The bite surface is especially paid accurate attention, since it needs to have minute nodes and fissures to emulate a normal tooth, which in turn makes a filling seamless and consistent with the natural bite, whereas the old flat fillings used to hinder proper chewing.
One of the reasons the composite or ceramic filled teeth are so similar to healthy teeth is due to the way they are made. They are not placed bottom up, but are rather applied in layers, from the center towards periphery (just like in a natural tooth), which makes them structurally stronger and enables light refraction in such way as to look like a natural tooth. Thanks to its chemical composition, composite and ceramic fillings completely bond to the tooth substance, preventing them from falling out and making them more solid.
When we say ceramic fillings, we mean ceramic inlays (placed in a similar fashion to composite fillings, but possessing more quality), ceramic onlays (restorations which cover the cusp of a tooth as well), as well as partial dental crowns. The difference between an onlay and a partial crown is that the crown always involves at least one lateral side of a tooth, whereas onlay does not. Ceramic fillings are fabricated within a few minutes in the CEREC machine and are the best solution that modern dentistry boasts of when it comes to dental restorations.
Modeling fillings in 3D software
Composite fillings are reliable and cheap, but they possess the density of modeling clay and are set only after being treated with dental curing light. All composite fillings give way after some time (because they shrink), they crack and change in colour, and the bigger the filling the shorter its life span. Since ceramic fillings are non-composite, i. e. they are derived from a homogenous piece of ceramic, it cannot shrink. At first glance, the benefit of composite fillings is their pliability, which means they will fill all cavities perfectly, but since ceramic fillings are made in the CEREC machine based on a computer scan of the tooth, an already solid filling can now perfectly top up all cavities as well, leaving less than 0.1mm of space between a tooth and a filling, which is then filled by cement.