Learn About Composite Fillings With Alpine Dental Center in Thornton
Many of us take great care to eat healthy foods and brush and floss daily. Still, most people will end up with a cavity at some point in their lives. To treat this cavity, your dentist will recommend a filling. There are a couple options to consider, including composite fillings.
A composite (tooth colored) filling is used to repair a tooth that is affected by decay, cracks, fractures, etc. The decayed or affected portion of the tooth will be removed and then filled with a composite filling.
There are many types of filling materials available, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Besides the most popular options of amalgam and composite, there are other options, such as gold, ceramic, and glass ionomer. Some options are less expensive and last longer than others. You and your dentist can discuss the best options for restoring your teeth.
Composite fillings, along with silver amalgam fillings, are the most widely used today. Because composite fillings are tooth colored, they can be closely matched to the color of existing teeth, and are more aesthetically suited for use in front teeth or the more visible areas of the teeth. Composite fillings are made from a mixture of acrylic resin and a powdered glass filler. Besides fillings, this material is also useful for other dental restorations, such as crowns, inlays, and veneers
In the past, amalgam fillings were most commonly used. Amalgam refers to a mixture of metals, most commonly including mercury. While amalgam fillings are very durable, lasting 15 years or longer, they can be unsightly. Plus, there is some concern about the mercury levels found in these fillings being unsafe. Therefore, many people have replaced their amalgam fillings with composite fillings for a more natural look.
Reasons for composite fillings:
- Chipped teeth.
- Closing space between two teeth.
- Cracked or broken teeth.
- Decayed teeth.
- Worn teeth.
Benefits of Composite Fillings
Composite fillings have many benefits such as:
- Make your tooth stronger. A tooth that has a cavity is weaker than a healthy tooth. By bonding this filling to your teeth we can make a weak tooth strong again and prevent further damage.
- Improve appearance. One of the biggest benefits of a composite filling is that it matches the shade of your teeth. This means nobody will notice you have a filling.
- Cover up imperfections. Teeth don’t always look perfect. You may have discolorations, small cracks or chips, or small gaps between teeth. The material used in a composite filling can fix these minor issues. You can even use the resin to create veneers to make your teeth look whiter.
- They harden quickly. After the composite filling is placed in your tooth, a special light is placed over the filling to get it to harden more quickly. The filling is usually fully cured in just one minute.
- Less enamel removal. With composite fillings, there’s not as much enamel to remove. Plus, there’s less drilling involved, so what’s not to love? This means installing a filling is easier and faster.
- Easy to repair. If you grind your teeth or chew on something too hard and cause the filling to break, they can be easily repaired.
How are composite fillings placed?
Composite fillings are usually placed in one appointment. While the tooth is numb, your dentist will remove decay as necessary. The space will then be thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared before the new filling is placed. If the decay was near the nerve of the tooth, a special medication will be applied for added protection. The composite filling will then be precisely placed, shaped, and polished, restoring your tooth to its original shape and function.
It is normal to experience sensitivity to hot and cold when composite fillings are first placed, however this will subside shortly after your tooth acclimates to the new filling.
You will be given care instructions at the conclusion of your treatment. Good oral hygiene practices, eating habits, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new fillings.