Also known as composite fillings, should be the most commonly used filling material in Dentistry. There are many different types of composite filling materials made by many different suppliers. They all have similar chemistry . They are all composed of a resin monomer and some sort of filler , ususally silica of different shades and particle sizes which give the different materials different properties. Some are harder/softer, more translucent, packable etc… We are currently using a material called “Fil-tek Supreme Ultra” with Nano sized filler particles. It is manufactured in America by 3M company.
Every composite filling material needs a bonding system which bonds/glues it in place. Our office uses a number of different bonding systems, each with specific applications. When bonding to strictly enamel we use “One Step” for extra strength, when bonding to dentine we use “SE Bond”. It helps to eliminate post-op sensitivity. In our office we have very little to none post op sensitivity. These materials are made in America and Japan.
Dr. McKenzie’s Office Policy on Amalgam
Amalgam WAS a fantastic dental material in its day. It was easy to use, it lasted a very long time, and it saved a lot of teeth over the more than 100 years that it was in use. Unfortunately its day was in the last century.
I haven’t placed an amalgam filling in over 20 years, not because it isn’t a good filling material, but because it isn’t environmentally friendly. Its full of heavy metals such as mercury, lead , silver and others. These heavy metals can end ujp in our environment if not properly disposed of. Our office has an amalgam separater which removes the sludge from the waste water that leaves our office. It is then recycled with a professional disposal service from Vancouver. They separate the metals and then have them re-used. However no system is perfect and to eliminate these metals from our environment we have to stop using them.
When Dr. McKenzie encounters old amalgam fillings he evaluatges them for their integrity. If they are still in good shape and don’t appear to be leaking they can often stay. Many amalgam fillings last 30 years! What else in life lasts 30 years ?! However, when the filling is leaking and recurrent decay is evident around the filling, or when cracks are appearing around the filling, it is time to replace it. When replacing an old amalgam filling , a new composite filling or a crown, or a ceramic inlay will be the filling material of choice. Twenty years ago there was lots of controversy regarding the utility of composite fillings, but vast improvements have been made and I am very confident now that today’s white fillings are every bit as good as yesterday’s amalgams AND a lot better for the ENVIRONMENT !