Composite Resin Restoration (White Filling)

Composite Resin Restoration (White Filling)

For small restorations on front teeth, composite resin is a marvellous option.

What is composite resin?

Used in a large number of consumer products, the composite is a polymer consisting of plastic particles. This dental restorative material is found in different forms and formats:

  • Paste: the composite is applied and carved with instruments, a bit like play dough.
  • Almost liquid: the composite resin is used as a sealant.
  • Unit dose: the dentist uses a special dispensing gun to apply the paste and give it the desired shape. When exposed to light, the composite starts to harden.

The white filling is a composite resin that contains monomers (urethane dimethacrylate) and minerals (glass, quartz, silica, pyrogen). This is a type of plastic that dentists use to fill tooth cavities. It is cured (hardened) with blue light.

Benefits of composite resin restorations

  • Aesthetically closer to the natural appearance of a tooth (material used for the visible surfaces of teeth);
  • Wide range of shades (allows the dentist to seal the decayed tooth and match the initial colour of the restored tooth);
  • Without toxicity (no mercury).

Disadvantages of composite resins

  • Less durable than amalgam;
  • Shrinks during polymerization (curing process with blue light), which can leave a space between the resin and the cavity and lead to marginal tooth decay.

The composite requires impeccable oral hygiene

The reactions of amalgam and composite restorative materials are completely opposite. Indeed, the amalgam will expand on setting while the composite will tend to retract. For this reason, there is a risk of tooth decay in these micro-cracks caused by the shrinkage of composite while it is hardening. Therefore, it is necessary to maintain impeccable hygiene of the molar teeth that have been restored with composite resin.

A tooth ready to resume normal functioning immediately

Since the composite resin is rapidly cured with a blue light, a freshly restored tooth with this material is immediately functional. On the other hand, in the case of an amalgam filling, the restoration takes a few hours to harden.

Weaknesses of composite resin restorations

Composite resin wears out more quickly and easily than amalgam. For large restorations or those submitted to strong pressure, the composite resin is less resistant than amalgam. However, there are different generations of composites and the most recent ones offer better durability. Composite resin has a promising future. It will probably be the only restorative material offered in the years to come.

Billing of the composite restoration

The restoration cost is billed per tooth and per separate surface. “Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ)” does not cover composite restorations on posterior teeth. It only covers restorations of anterior teeth (all surfaces) and premolars (visible surfaces when you smile). However, for children under age 10, certain services not insured by the RAMQ could be reimbursed by the family insurance.

Insurance claims

When your dentist bills the RAMQ or your insurer, he or she must declare the real material that was used for the restoration. The intervention that was carried out, the information entered in your file and the one submitted to your insurer must be concordant. Ideally, it is good to ask for a cost estimate before the treatment. Your dental team can also evaluate the amount that will be reimbursed by your insurance.

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