Composites: Bread and butter dentistry

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  Posted by: The Probe      20th April 2020

Advances in adhesive dentistry and composite materials have provided a reliable option for patients seeking durable yet aesthetic direct restorations. Treatment with posterior composites, in particular, remains the bread and butter of clinical practice. As such, it is essential for dentists to continue updating their knowledge and skills within composite applications in order to achieve the best possible results. There are some key factors to consider.

Technique and materials

Good isolation with rubber dam is vital to prevent contamination of the treatment site and encourage optimal bonding of the restorative material to the tooth. Sectional matrix bands are also important, as they restore anatomic proximal contours and contact areas. A properly placed matrix band should be correctly wedged in place and rigid against the existing tooth structure. 

Composite layering is a technique that involves having a good understanding of adhesive procedures, material handling and dental morphology. This is essential if you are to emulate the proper form, colour and function of a natural tooth. An important advantage of working in increments is that you can simulate different opacities, shades and translucency characteristics of enamel and dentine, which can be customised during the build-up to ensure a highly aesthetic, natural-looking outcome.

Explore the options

You will develop your own technique for placing composites. I prefer to use the LM Arte composite instruments from J&S Davis with Brush & Sculpt from Cosmedent as I’m able to easily sculpt, shape and contour the composite into place. Brushes can also be used to smooth the material, especially in cases of anterior composite restorations. My preferred composite is Venus Pearl due to its ease-of-use, excellent colour adaptation and its ability to achieve a high lustre once polished. I also prefer to use the Garrison Matrix system.

Get hands-on

Mastering composite treatment is the stepping stone to providing more advanced restorative and cosmetic procedures. Therefore, the importance of training cannot be underestimated. There are plenty of professional courses available that enable you to get hands-on with various materials and explore innovative techniques for achieving fantastic outcomes. Mentors can also offer useful advice and guidance with regard to how you can maximise results for the benefit of patients.


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