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Composite fillings are used to fill in a tooth following a cavity repair. Made of a mixture of glass or quartz and resin, composite fillings are durable, tooth-colored, and made to blend in with the remaining natural portion of your tooth. A major benefit to composite fillings is that they are mercury free.
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Amalgam Fillings vs Composite Mercury Free Fillings
Silver amalgam fillings have been used for decades. Once favored for its strength and durability, silver amalgam material still has its place in dental practice.
However, composite fillings have advanced substantially in the last decade. Here are just some of their advantages:
- When used in small to medium size restorations, composite fillings are durable and resistant to fracture.
- When using this type of filling, we don’t have to remove as much tooth structure, resulting in a smaller filling than amalgam.
- This material bonds to the tooth, unlike amalgam.
- Composite fillings are also much less visible than silver amalgam.
Composite Filling Process
When we find that you have a cavity, we’ll evaluate the size and depth of the tooth decay, presenting your options for a filling. Once we’ve decided on a course of action, we’ll begin the composite filling procedure:
- We’ll apply anesthetic to the tooth requiring the composite filling.
- If we’re simply fixing a fractured tooth, it’s unlikely that an anesthetic will be needed.
- We’ll then thoroughly remove any decay, cleaning the filling site.
- We must then prepare the tooth, carefully shaping your existing tooth, to successfully bond with the composite filling material.
- The tooth must be kept dry during the entire process. You may have a dental tool placed in your mouth for an extended time, to remove saliva.
- A blue light will be focused on the tooth to turn the composite material from soft to hard. Your filling won’t need additional time to solidify–you’ll be able to drink and chew normally right after the procedure!
This is a painless procedure that should last for several years. The life expectancy can vary greatly depending on where it is in your mouth and how heavy your bite is.
Composite Filling to Repair Fractured Teeth
Composite material can be used very successfully to treat fractured or chipped teeth. We commonly use composite filling material to repair front teeth that have chipped or have become significantly worn. Composite bonding does not typically last as long as a crown or veneer, but it is typically much less expensive. The use of composite bonding on front teeth can be difficult, as they are used frequently. The bond may fall off faster than on another tooth and may need to be replaced sooner.
Caring for Your Composite Filling
You may experience sensitivity for a little while, but it should pass quickly. If your tooth feels sensitive for a week or more, it’s important to call our office and schedule an examination. This will determine if additional treatment is needed.
Additionally, composite fillings are subject to stain and discoloration over time. Some patients request new composite fillings after a period of time as a way to brighten their smile.
Whether you need a cavity filled or a fractured tooth repaired, composite fillings are a great option. Contact Lewis Family & Implant Dentistry today!Back to General Dentistry