Are Composite Restorations a Perfect Solution for a Post-COVID Time?
Composite restorations have been widely used in the daily practice due to patient requests for replacement of traditional amalgam-based materials as well as material improvements that positively affect the esthetic and mechanical outcomes of polymer-based restoratives. Today, new COVID protocols have altered our perspective concerning treatments that require multiple appointments. Composite restorations fit into these abbreviated protocols very well as reliable and simple options for restorative procedures, as long as techniques can be applied adequately.
There are clinical situations best indicated for composite restorations compared to other material options due to their conservative preparation approach, faster procedure times, and their relatively simple placement and reversibility, allowing the possibility for repair, especially in younger patients. It is mandatory to recognize these specific clinical situations as we face our new brave world.
Among the several techniques used for placing composites, natural layering is commonly claimed as best for reproducing the natural aspects of dentition, allowing control of stresses generated by polymerization shrinkage. However, this technique involves a deep understanding of adhesive procedures, material handling, and dental sculpture, which makes it complex and time-consuming.
In order to overcome these drawbacks, advances in polymer chemistry engineering along with new layering techniques have been proposed. Low shrinkage composites have been developed for bulk filling of cavities, substantially simplifying composite restoration procedures and eliminating the steps required in traditional layering techniques. Bulk filling materials allow the restoration to be built in either one or two layers, according to the type and features of the bulk fill composite. New materials also claim the potential of a 3-second polymerization process, which also decreases the operatory time consumed.
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