How are White Fillings Placed?
Everybody likes beautiful white teeth.
Did you ever wonder how a white composite filling is placed?
What is involved in replacing a silver mercury/amalgam filling?
Well, here is a quick step by step outline demonstrating the placement of a white filling.
We need to isolate the tooth with or without a rubber shield. Below you can see how some of the fillings are isolated. In some of the teeth the silver mercury or decay has already been removed. We use a clamp to separate the teeth so a tight contact can be achieved in the final restoration.
We then use high powered magnification and strong lights to look for fractures in the tooth. More often than not a silver mercury filling/amalgam results in the tooth being fractured. If fractures are present, as seen above, then a white filling cannot be placed, but rather a full cuspal coverage restoration such as a crown is needed.
Proper filling of the cavity is key to avoid post-operative sensitivity. The white filling material has to be placed in a dry, clean environment and layered in no more than 2mm increments. This is where most errors take place! Meticulous handling of the materials is essential.
Once the restoration has been placed and hardened with a strong LED like light it needs to be polished and adjusted. If the filling hits the opposing tooth even a little bit too much then it can kill the tooth! So, proper adjustment is critical. Once the filling has been adjusted correctly it needs to be polished to a high gloss.
I hope this helps everyone understand the basic principles of a white filling. Of course there are many more details and variables, but that is for the dentist to understand 🙂