When it comes to dental fillings, did you know that there are different materials your dentist can use? For the longest time, fillings were made up of a metal mixture and were known as amalgam fillings. Nowadays, however, many dentists are using dental fillings made from composite resin. These fillings are known as composite fillings and they offer a variety of benefits. Here are some interesting facts about composite fillings:
Composite fillings can be matched to the exact color of your teeth, meaning that they blend seamlessly with the rest of your tooth once placed. For this reason, they are sometimes known as “tooth-colored fillings” or “white fillings”. Composite resin can also be molded to the shape of your tooth as well. Not only are composite fillings more aesthetically pleasing than metal fillings, but composite resin fillings do not discolor the teeth by corroding over time like amalgam fillings.
While amalgam fillings are made up of multiple metals mixed together, composite fillings contain absolutely no metal. Instead they are composed of a dental material known as composite resin. This makes them an ideal choice for individuals with metal allergies, as well as those who simply don’t want metal restorations for aesthetic reasons. Metal fillings can also be abrasive to the opposing tooth structure, so composite fillings may be a better choice for individuals who grind their teeth.
Composite fillings are primarily used to fill in small to medium sized areas of tooth decay in both the front and back teeth. However, the composite resin used for composite fillings can also be used to make minor cosmetic adjustments in a process known as composite bonding. Composite bonding can fill in gaps between the teeth, repair cracked or chipped teeth, restore worn enamel, and build up the natural tooth structure.
Preserves the Natural Tooth
Composite resin is one dental material that is able to bond directly with the tooth enamel without the need for adhesives. This means that there is less modification to the natural tooth structure when preparing the tooth for the placement of a composite filling. This also means that less drilling is needed to place a composite filling. Ultimately, this makes the tooth stronger since more of the natural tooth structure is preserved. In comparison, amalgam fillings require that part of the healthy tooth structure be removed in order to fit properly.
Placed in a Single Appointment
When visiting your dentist for a composite filling, you will only need one appointment to complete the process. This is because composite fillings are known as direct restorations, meaning that they can be fabricated inside the patient’s mouth without the need for a dental laboratory. When your dentist places a composite filling, they will apply the composite resin in layers and harden it one layer at a time. The final layer will then be shaped and polished to blend in with the rest of the tooth. The entire process is relatively quick, since each layer can be hardened in a matter of minutes.