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What Is a Composite Posterior Restoration?

Restoration involves filling in spaces or holes in teeth created by cavities or other damage.
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  • Written By: Angela Crout-Mitchell
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 27 July 2014
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A composite posterior restoration refers to the dental procedure used to fill in spaces or holes in teeth created by a cavity or other similar tooth damage. The process is designed to restore the tooth as closely as possible back to its original strength and durability. There are several variations associated with this type of dental restoration, including the resin or composite used as well as the procedure employed to properly place the resin composite. Members of the dental community use this procedure only for specific needs, as both advantages and disadvantages have been noted since this type of composite restoration was introduced as a viable therapeutic dental option in the 1990s.

Before the dentist can apply the composite material to the tooth, there are preparations that must be taken to ensure successful adhesion to the tooth surface. During the composite posterior restoration, the dentist will numb the area to be worked on, remove any damaged parts of the tooth, and smooth the rough edges as much as possible. He or she will then ensure the tooth nerve is well protected before completely drying the tooth. Composite resin is injected into the hole and treated to a blue wavelength light to dry or cure. The patient must be still through the process which only takes a few minutes once the soft composite is placed in the tooth.

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The material used for a composite posterior restoration is a combination of several chemical compounds known for their durability and low cost. These synthetic resins are made up of compounds including Bis-GMA monomers, dimethacrylates, and other ingredients the dentist may choose to add to customize the mixture for the patient's specific needs. It is not unusual for silica to be added as filler and to produce a more stable formula.

There are several advantages associated with composite posterior restoration, including improved tooth structure and durability. This procedure is well known for producing excellent adhesion to the tooth and offering a wider variety of color options than resins used in the past. The composite material most often used for restoration can be colored to closely match the patient's tooth color, making the repair almost invisible to the naked eye.

Some disadvantages associated with the composite restoration process are that the procedure requires more time to effectively execute, and each step must be properly performed to ensure tooth adhesion. For example, the tooth must be completely dry throughout the process until curing is complete. Dental composite materials used in the past were less sensitive in terms of how they were applied.

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