dental composite filling illustration

At Dugger Dentistry, Dr. Robert Dugger, your family dentist in West Linn, OR uses only the most advanced dental care tools and techniques to ensure his patients receive the very best dental care possible. Staying at the forefront of the dental care means knowing about the latest exciting advancements that promise to revolutionize the care patients receive.

A combination of synthetic resins, dentist use dental composites to strengthen and repair teeth damaged by decay. If you have a dental filling, you have some kind of dental composite helping to keep your teeth functional and healthy. While the type of composite a dentist uses to fill a cavity can range from porcelain (a tooth colored filling that blends seamlessly with your natural teeth) to amalgam (traditional metal fillings that many dentists have moved away from using due to the presence of silver in the material), the longevity and performance of fillings can vary, and the materials are prone to breaking.

But a new breakthrough at the University of Missouri promises to offer better, longer-lasting fillings in the future. Engineers at the university have developed a “flowable” composite material that can be injected directly into the interior of a cavity and hardened with a high-intensity light. This new technique just recently received approval from the Food and Drug Administration and will soon be available on the commercial market.

A Better Filling

Due to the short life span to normal composite fillings, it is estimated that 75 percent of dental work is replacing dental fillings. The potential for breaking also makes everyday composite materials one of the biggest challenges in restorative dentistry, according to the National Institutes of Health. However, using a composite comprised of calcium phosphate nanofibers, researchers have not only developed a new material that significantly improves long-term durability and strength when compared to contemporary materials, but also offers the same natural appearance of tooth enamel.

To understand the difference between the two types of dental composites, think of traditional materials like the cement used to fill a pothole. The material is poured into the hole and dried, leaving a functional replacement that looks and acts like the original material. However, over time that material can become weakened and eventually start to crack, resulting in the need for another replacement patch.

The calcium phosphate fibers used in this new type of composite work like a spring. The more pressure that’s applied, the more they coil together and the stronger the material becomes. The ability to strengthen and rebound under pressure provides this new material with the ability to better withstand the daily grind we all subject our teeth to by munching, crunching, gnashing and grinding.

This new type of filling could offer patients a more durable and lasting solution to many common oral health problems.

Avoiding the Need For Fillings

Of course patients who enjoy quality oral hygiene are far less likely to ever need fillings to begin with. By brushing and flossing daily, and by scheduling regular dental checkups and exam with a family dentist in West Linn like Dr. Dugger you can prevent the effects of tooth decay from causing cavities that require fillings to correct.


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