Welcome to Santa Fe Smiles, a San Marcos affordable dentist

Opening Hours : Monday to Thursday - 8:30 am to 5:30 pm
  Contact : (760) 471-6011

White Fillings

In the modern day, the restorative material used is determined on the size of the cavity that exists after removing the fractures, decay and old restorations

The basic options available for restoring your teeth are

  1. Compostie (plastic) fillings  –  these are generally done when you lose less than 40% of your tooth structure. They last a very long time. Research shows that if you lose 40% of your tooth you lose 90% of its strength.
  2. Ceramic inlays (porcelain)  –  these restorations are used when you lose about 40% to 60% of  your tooth structure. They are much stronger than the plastic restorations and are made in a laboratory.They require two visits to do. The first visit, we remove the decay, old restoration and fractures if any. An impression is taken and sent to a laboratory. In the meantime a temporary filling is placed. In the second visit, the temporary restoration is removed and the definitive porcelain inlay is placed.
  3. Crowns  –  these are generally done when you have lost more than 60% of your tooth structure. This is there is not much toot structure to hold a filling or an inlay and therefore you need to cover the whole tooth to protect it from breaking or fracturing.

What is Composite Resin filling?

A composite resin is a tooth-colored plastic mixture filled with glass (silicon dioxide). Introduced in the 1960s, dental composites were confined to the front teeth because they were not strong enough to withstand the pressure and wear generated by the back teeth. Since then, composites have been significantly improved and can be successfully placed in the back teeth as well. Composites are not only used to restore decayed areas, but are also used for cosmetic improvements of the smile by changing the color of the teeth or reshaping disfigured teeth.

Bonding (the placement of composite resin on the front teeth for aesthetic purposes) allows us to mold beautiful smiles like artists mold clay statutes. The use of a light hardened white filling allows our team to mold, shape, and sculpt your tooth without worrying about time or having to rush through the white filling procedure. Once we are sure the white filling looks great, it is then hardened using a dental curing light. When the light is placed close to the white filling material, the white filling material begins to change and harden.

How is a composite placed?

Following preparation, the dentist places the composite in layers, using a light specialised to harden each layer. When the process is finished, the dentist will shape the composite to fit the tooth. The dentist then polishes the composite to prevent staining and early wear.

How long does it take to place a composite resin filling?

It takes the dentist about 10-20 minutes to place a composite. Placement time depends on the size and location of the cavity-the larger the size, the longer it will take.

What are the advantages of composite resin filling?

Aesthetics are the main advantage, since dentists can blend shades to create a color nearly identical to that of the actual tooth. Composites bond to the tooth to support the remaining tooth structure, which helps to prevent breakage and insulate the tooth from excessive temperature changes.

What are the disadvantages of composite resin filling?

After receiving a composite, a patient may experience post-operative sensitivity. Also, the shade of the composite can change slightly if the patient drinks tea, coffee or other staining foods. The dentist can put a clear plastic coating over the composite to prevent the colour from changing if a patient is particularly concerned about tooth colour.

How long will a composite last?

Studies have shown that composites last 7-10 years, except in very large restorations, where inlays, onlays or crowns would be recommended as they would last longer than composites.

Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and onlays are an excellent way to help solve a problem caused by moderate decay or

  1. Any level of decay on a portion of any tooth
  2. Need for a long-term, durable restoration
  3. Desire to limit the amount of healthy tooth structure removed
  4. Need to strengthen and reinforce a tooth

Decay is removed and cleaned from the tooth and a highly accurate impression is made of the prepared surface. This impression is used to create a model of the tooth that is then sent to our laboratory to create a porcelain (tooth coloured) restoration called an inlay or onlay. The inlay or onlay is then cemented into the prepared surface of the tooth.

An inlay covers only one to three surfaces of the tooth and is used to restore a small amount of tooth An onlay actually covers one or more cusps (the chewing surface of the tooth.)

Porcelain offers a fine alternative to other tooth restoration materials. Made to perfectly match the shade and shape of your teeth, it’s durable, strong, and virtually undetectable.

Inlays and onlays are incredibly strong due to the fact that they are created in a laboratory. This protects the tooth from fracturing and actually strengthens the tooth. In addition, inlays and onlays fit almost perfectly into the prepared surface of the tooth, reducing the size of the seam between the restoration and the tooth. This helps keep decay from eventually occurring under the restoration.

Inlays and onlays require the removal of only decayed areas of the tooth, leaving the more healthy tooth structure intact. This can help prevent the expense of root canal therapy in the future.