When tooth decay strikes and the dentist announces that you have a cavity that needs to be filled, you may be wondering how your smile will be affected. In the past, dental fillings may have not had the most aesthetically-pleasing look. With modern dentistry, however, unattractive dental fillings are a thing of the past.
Nowadays many dentists, especially cosmetic dentists, recommend using composite fillings to treat a tooth affected by tooth decay. But, what exactly is a composite filling? And why are composite fillings recommended? In order to answer these questions, here are five facts about composite fillings.
Offers Cosmetic and Restorative Treatment
By filling in dental cavities, composite fillings are capable of restoring mildy decayed teeth. However, composite fillings are made from a dental material called composite resin. Composite resin is able to be matched to the natural tooth color and molded to blend with the natural tooth structure. In short, once a composite filling is applied, it will not be noticeable. Because of the way composite fillings blend with the natural teeth, they are sometimes classified as cosmetic dental treatments.
Not only are composite fillings made from a material that can blend in with the natural tooth structure, but this material also contains no metal. This means that composite fillings can safely be used on individuals with metal allergies. Additionally, it means that the teeth will maintain their color and not become discolored as a result of the corrosion caused by metal fillings. The final benefit of being metal-free is that composite fillings require less tooth preparation and preserve more of the natural tooth structure. For more information, see “Metal-Free Fillings”.
Despite the fact that composite fillings do not use metal, they are still considered extremely durable. On average, a composite filling can last about 10 years if properly cared for. Composite fillings also do not require any special care outside of a daily dental routine and avoid habits that are detrimental to the teeth, such as chewing ice.
Composite fillings are primarily used to treat tooth decay, however the composite resin material can be used for other restorative procedures. Dental composite is commonly used to build up the natural tooth structure after placing a cavity, for repairing damaged teeth, to replace worn enamel, and to fill gaps between teeth.
Composite fillings can easily be placed during a single dental appointment. This is because they are known as direct restorations, meaning that they do not require a dental laboratory for restoration fabrication. This simply means that a composite filling is completed entirely inside the patient’s mouth. When placing a composite filling, the dentist will first remove any decayed tissue and clean the affected area. Then, the tooth will be shaped in preparation for the filling. The composite resin is then placed in the filling one layer at a time. A curing light is used to harden the composite after each layer is placed. This continues until the cavity has been filled, then the final layer is shaped and polished.
Overall, there are many reasons why dentists tend to recommend composite fillings. The ease of placement, aesthetic qualities, durability, and versatility are only a few reasons. If your beautiful smile has been threatened by a cavity, composite fillings are the way to restore your tooth while preserving its natural appearance.
Dr. Sadati possesses extensive experience in all aspects of advanced restorative dentistry, with an emphasis in cosmetic and implant dentistry. He has attained Accredited Fellow status in the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), the most rigorous, demanding credentialing process in the world. He is the only AACD Accredited Fellow in South Florida.