Tooth-colored fillings have revolutionized the field of dentistry ever since their invention in 1960. Initially they were used as material for front teeth, and the application for back teeth was developed only much later. This was achieved through an increased amount of hard particles; the so-called inorganic mass. Through the continued improvement of composites throughout the years, it is now possible to work completely amalgam-free. The tooth-colored filling material consists of 20% plastic, and 80% ceramic particles. Composite is classified as a filling but shares many properties with ceramics.
Many advantages of this new filling material would not be possible without a special adhesive technique. Due to this new development, we are now able to glue the composite straight to the tooth enamel and dentine. When working with composites, it is imperative to work with a completely dry surface, as moisture lessens the durability and adhesion with the enamel and dentine. The drying is achieved with cotton rolls or the application of a dental dam.
The word composite is derived from the latin compositum: „that which is put together“.
It consists of an organic plastic matrix, that, when mixed with ceramic material, creates an aesthetic, durable, and non-toxic alternative to amalgam.
Amalgam fillings have been outlawed for use in children as well as pregnant and nursing women by the German ministry of health since 2018, and are scheduled to disappear completely from German dentistry by 2019. Toxic mercury gases can escape during the drilling and application of fillings. Even small quantities of mercury can enter the blood stream which are then deposited in the liver and kidneys. Headaches, tiredness, loss of appetite, and fatigue are symptoms of amalgam poisoning and should be treated immediately.
Composite contains no toxic ingredients and is 100 percent bio-compatible. The filling material is glued, therefore making edge cutting or excessive enamel reduction unnecessary. Old amalgam fillings often fracture at the thinnest point of the healthy tooth substance. Glued fillings on the other hand stabilize the tooth with their adhesive bond and help restore the decayed or fractured area.
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