Composite fillings are becoming many dentist and patients’ preferred method of repairing broken or decayed teeth. With people being more concerned about how their mouth looks, and wanting a clean-looking restoration for their teeth, many patients are choosing composite resin fillings or “white” fillings” over amalgam (silver) fillings.
A composite filling involves the use of a tooth-colored resin material to restore chipped, crooked, decayed and damaged teeth. Composite resin can be used to improve your smile by reshaping the teeth or enhancing the color and filling in cavities. The resin is made of plastic and glass.
The composite resin material can also be used to fabricate partial crowns and veneers which can be done in the dentist’s chair. Great composite restoration results can also be created in a lab where the resin material can be shaped into inlays, onlays, full or partial crowns on single teeth, and even crowns used with bridges to replace two or three teeth.
Composite fillings are often the favored option for dental restorations because they more closely resemble the natural color of teeth. When teeth experience decay and a cavity develops, your dentist at Dental Arts of South Jersey in Voorhees can use composite fillings to not only restore the beauty and image of your teeth, but also the integrity of your mouth by rebuilding and supporting the remaining tooth structure. The filling is also a good insulator from the heat and cold of the external environment.
One of the main advantages to composite fillings over silver fillings is that white fillings don’t need as much space in a tooth as silver fillings do, so you get to keep more of the natural tooth structure.
Composite fillings do have a history of being prone to leakage when they were first introduced, but over the last decade or so, techniques and materials have improved so that composite fillings are now almost as durable as amalgam, and can be used in molars for many patients.
While composite fillings are more durable now than they were years ago, they still have, on average a shorter lifespan in molar teeth. Composite fillings may also become discolored or stained by the same things that would stain natural teeth (ie: drinking too much coffee, tea, and eating other strongly tinted food).
Composite fillings take longer than metal fillings because the resin needs to be cured right in the office.
If the space that needs filling is small, the procedure may not require a local anesthetic. If a larger space or defect is being restored, then a local anesthetic may be suggested.
For the composite resin material to properly bond with the tooth, the area needs to be kept completely dry. So the dentist will use a rubber dam to keep the saliva out. With this device on, and the area frozen if needed, the tooth is ready to be repaired. The decay will be drilled out and the tooth cleaned, or the defect will be shaped to better accommodate the replacement filling. Once the tooth is prepared, the tooth surface will be “etched” with an acid to help the resin material adhere to the tooth.
The resin will then be layered in with a special light applied to each layer to help it set. Once the area is completely filled, the dentist will shape it so that it fits properly against the opposite teeth and completely blends with tooth shape. Then it will be polished so that no one will even know there was a defect on that tooth.
Traditionally, insurance companies may only pay for white fillings used in front teeth, or only the equivalent price of an amalgam filling, with the balance being paid by the patient. Since the durability and longevity of resin fillings is getting better, some insurance companies may increase their coverage. It’s wise to check with your insurance company before proceeding with treatment. Our staff can provide you with the information your insurance company will need to assess the situation and decide coverage.
If you need to have a filling placed, your dentist at Dental Arts of South Jersey in Voorhees / Cherry Hill can help you decide which type of filling is best for you. There are many types of fillings available for you, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Once the filling is done, it is important to practice proper oral care to make sure that the filling lasts a long time. Simple, routine oral care such as brushing, flossing, balanced diet and visiting the dentist regularly can improve your teeth’s condition and minimize tooth decay to prevent further need of fillings. Prevention is still better than cure or any filling.
For a consultation about composite fillings or any dental healthcare issues, call Dental Arts of South Jersey at (856) 324-3361, or make your appointment online.