The Importance of Being Polished

15 Aug
Discs make all the difference

I was working on fillings for my patient and I noticed some of her old composite work, which was completed by a different dentist at her old office, was starting to show it’s age. Composites, the white resin fillings, often look impeccable the day that they are placed. Little by little composites tend to lose their beauty because they discolor around the margins, due to stains collecting at these areas.

I use discs to polish the margins of my composites because it makes a meaningful difference in their finished appearance. So, in this case, I was looking at the old composites and I asked the patient if she would mind if I smoothed off the edges of the old composites. She said, “Oh, sure. I guess so.”

I went over the edge of the composite with a white stone to smooth the worn and rugged edge, which had once been tapered to the tooth but, now had a micro-ledge. The micro-ledge had started to collect staining. The staining is most likely to have come from 2 sources: 1. extrinsic stains (think: coffee, tea, blackberries, blueberries, red wine, colas) and/or 2. camphorquinone (this is the photoactivator in most composites and over long periods of time it tends to become yellow.)

After reducing the ledge flat to the tooth, then, I proceeded to take Sof-lex discs to the margin starting with Medium grit, then, Fine grit, then Super Fine grit. These got rid of additional stain and made the filling almost perfectly flat to the tooth again. Once the filling was absolutely flat to the tooth, I added some micro-filler gloss. This Permaseal allows us to regain that very shiny finish, and acts as a top coat, similar to the clear coat on a car after the paint has been redone.

I hope you enjoy this case! If you need to book an appointment, you may call our office at 512-454-2744, or book online.


Dr. Russell McFarlane

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1600 W 38th St, Suite 402

Austin, TX 78731


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