4146 Carmichael Road, Suite A
Montgomery, AL 36106
Clint Hudson D.D.S. DMD P.C
2317 Whitesburg Dr
Huntsville, AL, 35801
Lee Kamelchuk D.D.S. DMD P.C
1107 Gleneagles Dr
Huntsville, AL, 35801
600A University Boulevard E
Tuscaloosa, AL, 35401
Rogers, Dean D.D.S.
6611 Pinehill Rd
Daphne, AL, 36526-5225
In dental materials, composite resins are just about the most exciting thing to come down the pike in a long while. Resins may well symbolize the value of long-term, persistent research. From humble beginnings in 1956, the search for an effective adhesive dental filling has culminated in resin materials - versatile, relatively strong, with cosmetic superiority. Quite a return from plastic mixed with glass beads and such.
What's amazing about filling a tooth with resin (vs. gold or silver amalgams) is the nature of the bond to the tooth. The enamel is first treated with a mild acid to create microscopic pores on the surface of the tooth. Once the resin is applied, a mechanical - not chemical - bond is formed. Sort of like dental velcro. Then the resin can be sculpted, tinted, and polished to look like the real thing.
So what do composite resins mean for cosmetic dentist patients? Let's count the ways.
The best bargain in cosmetic dentistry, and proven cavity fighters to boot, are pit and fissure sealants. Sealants are a composite resin painted on back teeth, where tooth decay typically occurs in children. One sealant session, with check-ups now and then, provides cavity prevention - indefinitely.
Dental bonding is an umbrella term for placing composite resin restorations, from tooth-colored inlays to reshaping chipped teeth. For the right candidate, bonding is a comfortable, quick alternative to dental crowns, and a real boon to simple cosmetic dental care procedures. Less of your healthy tooth is removed, so it's essentially a conservative tooth restoration procedure.
In adults, a receding gum can expose the roots of teeth, an uncomfortable situation at best. Along with other adhesives, we apply resins directly to the root surface to help prevent tooth decay, and make the teeth less sensitive to hot and cold.
Teeth straightening just became easier. We can use resins to bond braces directly to teeth, so heavy bands around teeth, in some cases, can be dispensed with. The new invisible braces, along with bonding, make adult orthodontics an appealing alternative to crooked teeth.
Well, not really. Composite resins may never replace old standby filling materials, especially on back teeth. But resins have taken their rightful place in cosmetic dentistry, complimenting metal amalgams, and they can only get better.
We have all seen smiles that you know have dental crowns in the front. You look at them and say to yourself that something is not natural. Many times, it is the dark rim of gum tissue that gives it away. The dark rim of gum tissue does not occur around natural teeth, only around teeth that have been covered with dental crowns.
The dark line is associated with an old porcelain dental crown. This style of dental crown is referred to as porcelain fused-to-metal dental crowns because it uses tooth-colored porcelain on the outside and it uses metal under the porcelain for strength. The dark line originates from the edge of the dental crowns where the porcelain and the metal meet at a knife-edge at the gum line. At the knife-edge, a very thin amount of the metal always shows. One of the illusionary techniques cosmetic dentists have used was to hide the thin dark line under the gum line. Over time, the gum tissue would recede and expose the dark line. In some patients the dark line would show through the gum and make it appear dark as well.
The only way to eliminate the esthetic problem is to replace the dental crowns. When replacing just one single dental crown in the front, you should expect that it might take more than one try-in of the new dental crown before it is permanently cemented into place. Because your central incisors are the most prominent teeth in the mouth, matching them is the most difficult esthetic challenge. Only the best dental technicians are able to mimic one central incisor tooth next to another.
Some of the clever ways dentists and dental technicians have been able to mimic natural teeth is through the new advancements in dental materials. New all-tooth-colored ceramic dental crowns are the latest technological advancement cosmetic dentists have to recreate natural teeth. In comparison to porcelain fused-to-metal dental crowns, all-ceramic dental crowns do not contain any metal, thus no dark line can appear.
Some advantages and disadvantages of all-ceramic dental crowns are as follows:
Dental crowns often need to be replaced after several years of service for esthetic or functional reasons. With the growing esthetic awareness of patients and the available ceramic technology, this type of re-treatment is becoming more common in the dental office.
By Benjamin O. Watkins, III, DDS