Could a Composite Filling Be in Your Future?
Since over 90% of adults in the United States have had at least one cavity, the odds are you’ve probably been told the not-so-good news — possibly even by me — that you need a filling. Today, you have more choices than ever before, but one of the most popular restorations is the composite filling. Do you know why?
What Are Composite Fillings?
A composite filling is tooth-colored and typically made from powdered glass and acrylic resin. Use of composite fillings was originally limited to the front teeth because the material was not strong enough for teeth where grinding and chewing were required. As with most things in dentistry, technology has improved, and now composite fillings can be used both in front and back teeth for most minor to moderate wear and decay. I know, I know, this is all pretty technical, but I want you to know a little bit about the materials I use for some of your restorations and how they have improved. There are advantages to using composite restorations, including:
- Natural Look — One of the biggest benefits is cosmetic. Composite fillings are tooth-colored and blend into the tooth so they are more natural looking and more difficult to spot than amalgam alternatives.
- Strengthens the Tooth — A composite filling is less intrusive — less drilling and tooth removal is required in the preparation. Unlike amalgam fillings, a composite filling bonds with the tooth, helping to preserve the tooth’s structure. The bonding also helps insulate the tooth from temperature sensitivity.
- Quick Hardening — After each layer of resin is applied, a special light is used to hasten the hardening of the composite. The tooth is ready to use once the procedure is finished.
- Repairable — It is often possible to repair a composite filling instead of replacing it, as required with an amalgam restoration. The newly placed composite material will bond with the tooth and the existing filling. This bonding means that composites can be used to repair chipped, broken, or worn teeth as well as for filling cavities.
- No Metal — Despite the American Dental Association declaring amalgam fillings safe, for some, the presence of mercury in amalgam fillings is a concern. Others may have allergies or sensitivity to other metals used in amalgam fillings, so the composite filling is a perfect solution.
There’s a lot that goes into deciding which type of filling you need — your dental history, the size and location of the cavity, cosmetic concerns, and more. We invite you to contact our office to find out more about the benefits composite fillings offer and discover whether they are right for you.
Dr. Sonny Afshar