In the 1960s, tooth-colored fillings, or acrylic fillings, were first introduced to the world of dentistry. The earliest mixtures of these resins were not as smooth as today’s composites. They were also not as durable or as strong as resins today. While they became the choice material for anterior teeth, replacing silver or amalgam fillings, they could not withstand the pressure exerted on molars to be successfully used in back teeth.
Problems with Early Acrylic Fillings
The aesthetics of the tooth-colored fillings could not be argued when compared to amalgam fillings. They were simply more desirable in anterior teeth. At the same time, these early acrylic fillings were difficult to polish, and they had problems adhering sufficiently to the natural tooth.
Composite resin replacement fillings were developed in the 70s. Although the resins were tooth-colored, the shades were limited and again, these were also difficult to polish. There were also issues with shrinkage.
Advancements in tooth-colored fillings were made. Even current technology continues to improve on aesthetically pleasing and structurally sound filling material that can be used in all situations where a cavity needs to be filled.
Why Stronger Filling Material is Necessary for Molars
Many people have composite fillings in their front teeth and areas of teeth in view when smiling. Less common are composites on back teeth. For decades, composite resins have not been strong enough to take the wear and tear exerted on these teeth. Fairly recently, strides have been made in producing stronger materials.
Approximately 70 pounds of pressure per square inch is exerted on back molars when you chew. The closer you come to front teeth, the amount of force tapers off, due to the structure and function of the jaw. The bite-force a person exerts with bruxism or teeth grinding can be as much as 250 pounds per square inch. These numbers highlight the need for strong filling materials for molars.
Advantages of Composite Fillings in Molars
Aesthetically, tooth-colored fillings are not as important in the back as they are in the front, unless you take a few things into consideration. Whenever you open your mouth wide, as in yawning or singing, the top surfaces of your molars are visible. Often, pictures of singers are snapped with mouths open wide. Then you can see the dental work on those back teeth.
Crowns, or caps as they are also called, cover the entire crown of a tooth, and some celebrities have opted for this solution over the amalgam fillings. Composite fillings can provide the same aesthetics without the cost or time investment of crowns. Composite fillings have an additional advantage.
There are individuals who will benefit from the advantage of having non-metallic fillings. Though allergies to metals are not very common, some people have experienced irritation of some sort due to the metals in the amalgam filling. The composite resin filling eliminates this problem.
Our team of dental professionals at Helm Nejad Stanley appreciates your need for superior aesthetics as well as repairs that also mimic the function and strength of natural teeth. Our approach using biomimetic dentistry assures you of more natural, conservative dental care that results in aesthetically pleasing and functionally long-lasting repairs. Call today to schedule an exam and consultation on replacing your metal fillings with composites.