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A Comprehensive Look at the Benefits of Composite Fillings

November 11, 2022

Composite fillings are becoming increasingly popular when choosing a material for dental fillings. 

This is because composite fillings offer several benefits over traditional amalgam fillings. Composite fillings can be matched to the color of your teeth, making them less noticeable, and they also bond directly to the tooth enamel, creating a stronger seal. 

Additionally, composite fillings do not contain mercury, a common ingredient in traditional amalgam fillings. 

In this article, we will take a comprehensive look at the benefits of composite fillings and explain why they are becoming a popular choice for many people.

How composite fillings work

Composite fillings are made of a plastic resin mixed with a powdered glass filler. This mixture is then shaped and hardened by a light-cured special glue. The process of hardening the resin is known as polymerization. 

When the composite resin is hardened, it forms a relatively thin layer on top of the tooth enamel. This layer is then shaped and polished to make it smooth and flat. The layer of composite resin is usually about half as thick as the enamel on the surface of your tooth. 

The composite resin used to create fillings is similar to the resin dentists use to create fillings for young children. Composite resin is softer and more flexible than tooth enamel, and it does not bond to the tooth enamel as well as the enamel bonds to each other.

Advantages of composite fillings

Composite fillings come in various colors, allowing them to blend in better with your natural teeth. This can help improve your teeth' aesthetic appearance and make the fillings less noticeable. These are also less sensitive than other dental fillings, making them a good choice for people with sensitive teeth. 

Composite fillings can also last longer than traditional dental fillings. This is because they are not applied to the tooth's surface but are used to fill the space between the tooth and the underlying pulp. This makes them more resistant to wear and tear. 

Composite fillings also contain fluoride, which can prevent the tooth from decaying again in the future. This can be helpful for people who have recurrent dental issues.

Can be matched to the color of your teeth

Coloring composite dental fillings can be a valuable way to improve the appearance of your teeth and make the filling less noticeable. If you have a filling that is noticeably different from your natural tooth color, you can use composite to match it to your tooth’s natural color. 

Not only does this make the filling less noticeable, but it can also help to improve your self-esteem. If you feel embarrassed by your teeth because of the appearance of the filling, coloring the filling can help you to feel more confident. 

This can be particularly helpful if you plan to smile a lot in photos or at an event. Additionally, matching your filling to the color of your teeth can prevent stains from forming on the filling over time.

Bond directly to the tooth enamel

Traditional dental fillings are applied to the tooth's surface, while composite fillings are placed in the space between the tooth and the pulp. This makes them especially useful for repairing large cavities that extend into the tooth’s center. 

While dental crowns are often used to repair these types of cavities, composite fillings can also be used in some instances. The composite filling makes direct contact with the tooth’s enamel, allowing it to bond to the tooth. 

This creates a stronger seal that can prevent the tooth from decaying again. While this advantage helps repair large cavities, it also makes composite fillings more suitable for treating tiny cavities.

Do not contain mercury

While traditional dental fillings sometimes contain mercury, composite fillings do not. This is one of the most significant benefits of composite fillings over amalgam fillings. Mercury is toxic and can be harmful to the body when ingested. 

While it is rare for people to consume mercury-containing dental fillings, it is a potential risk. If you are concerned about the possible health risks of amalgam fillings, then composite fillings may be a good choice for you. 

There are a few instances in which an amalgam filling may be a better choice than a composite filling. This may be the case if the tooth has already decayed to the point that it has weakened. In this scenario, the tooth may be at a high risk of breaking and may not be suitable for a composite filling.

More aesthetically pleasing

If you are concerned about the appearance of your teeth, composite fillings may be a good choice for you. These fillings can be colored to match your natural tooth color, making them less noticeable on your teeth. This can help to improve your self-esteem and make you feel more confident. 

While this is a benefit of composite fillings for anyone, it may benefit people with visible dental issues more. Composite fillings can be a suitable option if you have a dental condition causing your teeth to look unappealing, such as tooth decay, staining, or a broken tooth.

Minimizing damage to the tooth

Traditional dental fillings can weaken a tooth over time, potentially leading to tooth fracture. This is because the tooth becomes weaker as the filling erodes, causing it to become thinner. Composite fillings can be more beneficial because they do not cause as much damage to the tooth. 

These fillings are placed between the tooth's spaces and the underlying pulp. The tooth does not weaken as quickly because the composite filling does not come into direct contact with it.

Cost comparison between composite and amalgam fillings

Although composite fillings are more expensive than traditional amalgam fillings up-front, they are usually less expensive in the long run. This is because composite fillings can be replaced infrequently as amalgam fillings, saving you money in the long run. 

To determine the cost of composite fillings, dentists will take X-rays and impressions of your teeth. Then, they will clean your teeth and make a small hole to place the filling. 

They will then mix the composite material and harden it in the hole. Because amalgam fillings are less expensive, many dental insurance companies will still cover them even if the patient chooses to have composite fillings.

Tips for taking care of composite fillings

  • Practice good oral hygiene: The best way to take care of your teeth and fillings is to practice good oral hygiene. Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day can help to remove food particles that can cause decay and plaque. 
  • Visit your dentist regularly: Your dentist can help to identify any problems in your teeth early and recommend a treatment plan. 
  • Avoid grinding your teeth: Grinding your teeth can cause excessive wear and tear on your teeth, which can lead to cracked teeth and damage to your fillings. 
  • Avoid smoking: Smoking can increase your risk of gum disease, which can cause decay and damage your teeth. 
  • Avoid certain food and drinks: Certain drinks and foods can stain your teeth. This can make your teeth look dingy and yellow.

FAQs about composite fillings

How long do composite fillings last? 

The average lifespan of a filling is about five years, though some can last up to 15 years. Fillings last based on your oral hygiene, diet, and other factors. The lifespan of a filling is typically shorter if it is used to repair a broken tooth. 

When should I replace my composite fillings? 

If your filling has chipped or cracked, you should replace it immediately. You should also replace your filling when it is two years old, even if it has not broken or chipped. Replacing your filling early can help to prevent future decay.

Can I whiten my composite fillings? 

You can whiten your teeth in general, but you cannot whiten your composite filling. This is because the filling is bonded to your tooth enamel, which cannot be whitened. 

Can I have veneers or implants with composite fillings? 

Yes, you can have veneers or implants with composite fillings. They are not a barrier to other aesthetic dental procedures.

Conclusion

Compared with the traditional amalgam filling, the composite filling is a relatively new dental restoration material. It is commonly used to restore teeth that have been decayed, broken, or otherwise damaged, and it is also used to replace broken teeth. 

It has several advantages over amalgam filling, including the fact that it does not contain mercury and can match your tooth color. Due to these advantages, composite filling is now the most widely used dental restoration material.

Visit Your Dentist At Belmont Dental Associates Now!

When you visit us at Belmont Dental Associates, you can expect to receive the best dental care available. We will take the time to listen to your concerns and address them in a way that makes the most sense for your needs. You can also rest easy knowing that everyone on our team is dedicated to giving you the best care possible.

When it comes to oral health, you must visit your dentist regularly to keep up with any dental treatments that may be needed. You can help ensure that your smile is strong and healthy from head to toe by getting regular checkups and cleanings.

In addition, if you’re looking for a place where you can enjoy delicious treats while getting the best care available, look no further than Belmont Dental Associates! We're located at 1100 Spruce Street in Belmont, NC 28012, and for your inquiries and bookings, please dial (704) 825-3455 or email [email protected]

Book an appointment with us now!

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