Bulk restorations are a popular way for dentists to treat cavities. Although they are popular with many dentists, they may actually not be the best method of treatment. Dr. Erpenbach does not use bulk restorations to treat cavities and uses biomimetic dental restorations instead.
Bulk restorations became popular because they allowed dentists to fill cavities faster. They require fewer steps that metal amalgam fillings, which means dentists were able to treat patients faster, ultimately giving them the ability to treat more patients during the day, too. Unlike metal amalgam fillings, there is no risk of exposure to poisonous mercury; a factor that makes them more popular with patients, Another benefit is that they are tooth-colored versus the telltale silver amalgam, which makes it less obvious that the patient has fillings.
Despite these benefits, bulk fill restorations have their drawbacks. Namely, they are known to shrink considerably after placement. This leaves a space between the filling and the tooth. This space collects bacteria and food debris, which contribute to decay and cavities. When bacteria and food debris remain under restorations, infections develop deep inside the tooth.
There is an alternative to bulk fill and amalgam restorations. Biomimetic dentistry uses lifelike materials that resemble the teeth like bulk fill, and are not poisonous like amalgam fillings. Biomimetic restorations also do not shrink, because the method of placement is incremental. After Dr. Erpenbach establishes a good foundation in the tooth, the restoration is built up in layers. This prevents shrinking and ensures a tight bond. This bond will prevent bacteria from being able to move back into the tooth.
Successful restorations are strong and durable without putting stress on the teeth. If the filling material is too rigid, it can lead to cracks in the tooth enamel. These cracks allow bacteria to enter the tooth, which also causes decay and infection.
It is also important that there is a quality curing process in place when placing restorations to ensure a good seal that will prevent decay-causing bacteria from moving back to the space.
When restorations are done correctly using high-quality materials, they last much longer. Bulk fill restorations typically last for just five years compared to biomimetic restorations that are going strong after a decade or more. Learn more about biomimetic restorations by calling Dr. Erpenbach today at 865.240.2035.