Step by step posterior composite filling placement by Dr. Ross
The two most common sites for tooth decay include the chewing surface of a tooth (occlusal decay) and decay in between teeth (interproximal decay). In this case, Dr. Ross is filling 2 surfaces of a molar and 2 surfaces of a premolar, including the interproximal on the patient's upper arch.
Tooth filling procedures have come a long way and have evolved into greatly improved techniques. At our office its out with the old and in with the new, our dentists use only tooth colored composite fillings.
To begin the process, Dr. Ross first uses severaly diagnostic tools, such as radiographs, to determine the extent of the decay. The images aid the dentist in knowing how far to drill into the tooth during the procedure. In the first step of the procedure,Dr. Ross opens up the teeth (pictured below) to visualize the decay using a small drill. Don't worry, the patient is numbed using local anesthesia and does not feel any discomfort.
Step two includes prepping the tooth so that it is free of decay and left with only healthy tooth structure (below).
Dr. Ross is then ready to fill the tooth with composite material. When initially inserted, the material is soft and doughy. A special curing light with blue wavelengths is used to strengthen and harden the composite material. Because the light can only infiltrate 2-3 mm, several layers are must be placed. With each layer the dentist is shaping and filling the tooth to accomadate for a proper biting surface that won't wear or break with time.
Finished composite fillings.
Posterior filling of a fractured tooth by Dr. Ross
Here you can see a visual of the patient's fracture on his upper right second molar. Below is a radiograph also showing the extent of the fracture in the interproximal space.
Pictured below, Dr. Ross has opened up the molar and revealed that the fracture had exposed the tooth to bacteria which allowed for decay to spread below the surface.
Dr. Ross proceeded to clean out the decay to prep the occlusal surface of the tooth for a composite filling.
Once the tooth is free of decay and left with only healthy tooth structure, the composite filling can then be placed.
The finished product leaves the patient with a healthy, natural looking tooth free of caries.