As a dentist performimg cosmetic therapy in Charlotte, NC, Dr. Plascyk uses a variety of cosmetic filling material in his practice. Tooth colored composite filling material is one of these materials. Composite is a mixture of flowable resin and filler materials. Composite materials are soft or flowable when first placed in a tooth, then the material hardens when it is set with a light. Different quantities and types of filler materials give the composite various physical properties. Some composites are harder than others and are used in the back teeth. Some resist stains and look better when polished. These types of composites are used on anterior (front) teeth.
Resin: The chief component in resin is BIS-GMA. Other components of the resin include diluents, cross-linking agents,coupling agents, stabilizers and catalysts.
Filler: Common filler materials include strontium glass, barium glass, quartz, borosilicate glass, ceramic, silica and pre-polymerized resin. Fillers are categorized by size and shape.
Composites can be direct or indirect. A direct composite is applied to the tooth after a cavity is removed. The composite is "cured" or "set" with a light. An indirect composite is made outside the mouth and then cemented on the tooth. An indirect composite can be more completely cured with light, heat and pressure outside the mouth. This increases the chemical reactions and bonding of the molecules in the composite. This improves the physical properties of the composite and makes it more biocompatible. Indirect composites are more expensive than direct composites but less expensive than porcelain fillings.
There is are some of you who are concerned about the ingredients of dental composite fillings. One hot topic is the concern of bisphenol A (BPA). BIS-GMA (above) is not BPA. However, some people feel that BIS-GMA can break down to BPA or BIS-GMA being made from BPA ... (blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!). Look, this entire topic is confusing and controversial. You get different info from each manufacturer. The bottom line is this. If you are so concerned about composite fillings then just get porcelain fillings. Although I feel composite fillings are safe, porcelain fillings are more stable than composite fillings and are therefore more biocompatible.