One of the challenges in the world of dentistry is to provide patients with long-lasting and retentive results in a hostile environment of the human mouth! Through advancement of dental science, there is no longer a need to remove excessive amounts of tooth structure in order to create mechanical retention for the restorative materials. These days and through establishing strong chemical bonds, in most cases, other than removing diseased portions of teeth no other tooth structure needs to be removed or altered. This enables dentists to offer very conservative approaches to their patients for restoring health, form, and function of teeth. Please talk to your dentist on your next visit.
Inlays, Onlays, and Conservative Crown Restorations
To dive deeper into the world of dental restorations, the challenge with chemical bonding is that they need to counteract the residual shrinkage that follows the polymerization of dental composite in a direct composite restoration.
If the force of composite polymerization shrinkage is greater than the chemical bond established, then the filling bond will fail and the filling will become loose. However, if an excessive amount of shrinkage forces is controlled by the strength of the chemical bond, the tooth may be placed in a tensile stress and may fracture.
So, a fine balance needs to be established in order to achieve long-lasting results. This balance is achieved either through conservative preparations, meticulous application technique, and/or taking advantage of indirect restorations.
Indirect restorations are ones that are fabricated in the lab as opposed to fillings that are directly applied in the mouth. Indirect restorations such as onlays/inlays/and crowns go through material shrinkage outside of the mouth as they get fabricated in the lab and hence, enables us to establish strong chemical bonding between teeth and the restorative materials without placing teeth under any tensile strength.
Please talk to your dentist if you would like to learn more about this topic.