My name is Olga, and I just finished my first year at University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine. Our direct restorative lab has been the most intriguing experience of dental school yet. After years of studying and preparation, we can finally hold a handpiece and place restorations! One of the simplest, yet most technique driven procedures that we have encountered in lab is placing composite restorations. Composite is a resin restorative material that is most often used in our school clinic. Knowing how to work with composite before going into clinic is crucial.
Composite is a very technique sensitive material; the working field must be isolated using a rubber dam and kept dry throughout the procedure. I chose to do a disto-occlusal restoration on a second premolar for this demonstration. After isolation, I used a sectional matrix and a wedge to maintain proper contour of the interproximal embrasure. I placed my composite in three different segments. The last segment of composite was carefully placed and the occlusal table pattern was made with an acorn burnisher. I find that placing the desired pits and grooves before curing the composite makes my restorations look more neat in the end. It is also important to mold a properly contoured and smooth marginal ridge before curing the material. I have found that the less you work the composite, the better it turns out. In the beginning, many students overwork the composite trying to achieve the perfect anatomy. Unfortunately, this ends up in a restoration that looks rough and pitted and thus needs a lot of finishing and polishing.
After my restoration was placed, I used a scalpel blade to trim off any excess material and achieve a flush contour. I used a sand paper disc to polish the marginal ridge and some polishing burs to go over the occlusal of my restoration. Finally, I checked for any irregularities with my explorer and once I have found that everything is smooth, I can call my restoration complete. Working with composite can be challenging at first, but once you develop your own technique it becomes a favorite.
~Olga Ivasheva, Colorado ’16