A composite dental filling is a tooth-colored material used to fill cavities and repair cracks and minor fractures. Composite fillings look very similar to the enamel, which has made them the most widely used fillings in recent times. However, metal fillings such as silver amalgam and gold were prominent before composite filling became popular. Though metal fillings were effective in sealing the cavity and stopping the further decay of the tooth, they are rarely used nowadays. The reason behind this is that metal fillings left dark patches on the teeth. This would ruin the aesthetics of one’s smile. Also, metal fillings would have toxic reactions with the enamel, leading to further infections.
Why are composite fillings sought after?
- Their appearance matches that of the enamel, allowing them to go unnoticed.
- They have excellent sealing properties. Hence, they prevent the decayed tooth from getting reinfected.
- They are quite long-lasting.
- They are strong and durable, which results in lesser wear of the filling.
- They are resistant to staining.
- They prevent the failure of a tooth by sealing a crack and preventing further crack propagation.
- They can be used to restore the shape of chipped teeth.
- Eliminate large gaps between adjacent teeth using a filling.
What is the procedure involved?
When you visit our dental practice for the initial consultation, the dentist will thoroughly examine your teeth and determine whether or not you require fillings. Based on the candidacy, you will be prepared for the procedure. The dentist cleans the teeth and removes the adhered tartar deposits using a hand-held scaling device. The cavity will be scrubbed to get rid of the decay, and the debris will be washed away using a jet of water.
The dentist prepares a filling material using a composite resin. It will be matched with the color, texture, and translucency of the teeth. An etching solution is applied to the decayed area to roughen it so that the filling firmly bonds to the enamel. The filling is placed on the etched surface and shaped accordingly. A curing light is used to harden it, after which it may be trimmed to bring it to the right contour. It will be polished so that it matches the appearance of the tooth.
How long do they last, and how do I care for them?
There is no definite lifespan for fillings. Their life depends on the oral habits of the individual. But most dentists agree that, with good oral hygiene and proper care, fillings last longer. So how do you care for them? Brushing and flossing twice a day limits bacterial growth in the mouth. Biting and chewing hard things may damage them, which is why it is always better to avoid hard foods like candy. Also, brushing with a soft-bristle toothbrush would reduce the wear of the filling. Using a fluoride toothpaste makes the teeth stronger and prevents cavities.
Please schedule an appointment online or call us at (408) 371-1070 to have a consultation with any of our Los Gatos Dental Group dentists, and we will be happy to help!