Almost all of us develop a dental cavity in our lifetime. This eventually requires a dental filling. Composite filling offers you a more affordable, natural-looking alternative to other fillings.
Irrespective of how common they are, many people are not much aware of filling options. Tooth decay remains a global problem despite advances in dental care over the years.
If tooth decay is not treated, it can lead to more serious dental health problems. This may include abscessed and falling teeth.
There are various types of dental materials for filling tooth cavities. Some types of fillings are better suited for specific conditions. Today it is one of the most popular types used in dentistry.
These fillings are great as they can closely match the color of your teeth. Here, we share some information about these fillings.
What is Composite Filling?
A composite or tooth colored filling is used for repairing a tooth. The tooth can be affected by decay, fractures, chipping or cracking. The decayed part of the tooth will be first removed and then filled with this filling.
Resin composite fillings are made of the ceramic and plastic compound. Since resin gives the appearance of natural teeth, they are a popular choice. They are also known as ‘tooth-colored fillings’ or ‘white fillings’.
Like most dental restorations, these fillings are not permanent. They may eventually have to be replaced. These fillings are very durable. They should last about 15 years, giving you a long-lasting, beautiful smile.
Types of Filling Materials Used in Dental Fillings
There are various types of dental filling materials. Each is having its advantages and disadvantages. Each of them can fill tooth cavities, but some are better suited for specific conditions. You need to factor in the location of the tooth cavity in your mouth and the cost of filling. Additionally, you need to check the severity of the decay, and your insurance coverage.
- Gold fillings are non-corrosive, very strong and can last up to 15 years with proper care. They are much more expensive than silver amalgam or composite fillings. They need more than one dental visit for correct fitting.
- Silver amalgam fillings are very sturdy and robust. It consists of mercury mixed with zinc, tin, silver, and copper. But, many do not find them to be aesthetically pleasing as they are visible. They are likely to expand and contract, thereby causing a tooth crack. People worry about the long-term safety of silver amalgam fillings. This is due to the fact that they contain neurotoxin in the form of mercury.
- Ceramic fillings made of porcelain are aesthetically pleasing and very durable. But, they cost more than silver amalgam fillings. They can wear out the opposing teeth if the porcelain becomes rough.
- Glass ionomers, also known as acrylic fillings, last for less than five years. They are a good choice for children if their teeth are changing. They release fluoride, which helps in preventing tooth decay.
- These fillings are the most popular option because they can match your teeth’s color. But, they are more expensive than silver amalgam fillings and are not as durable. These fillings are most widely used. They are the best aesthetically suited for use in front teeth for the more visible areas.
Composite Filling Procedure
As a first step, your dentist will use a local anesthetic to numb the area around the tooth that needs the filling. In the next step, the dentist will remove the decayed part using a drill, an air abrasion instrument, or a laser.
Post removal of the tooth decay, your dentist will probe and check the area for any remnants of decay. After the decay is removed, the dentist will clean the cavity of bacteria and debris. This way, he prepares the space for the filling.
Your dentist may put in a liner made of glass ionomer, composite resin, or other material to protect the nerve if the decay is near the root. Once all the decay gets removed, your tooth is ready for the filling.
First, he will place an adhesive material over the tooth. This adhesive material helps in bonding the composite to the tooth.
In the next step, the composite gets applied to the area of decay or damage. Your dentist will use a light to the tooth for a few seconds, which would harden the material.
Your dentist will repeat the process to build up the composite material and seal the tooth. This prevents further damage and ensures that bacteria cannot manifest.
After your dentist applies the composite material, he will smooth any edges. Post smoothening, he will polish the tooth. This will make your filling look and feel natural.
Your dentist will make you bite down on carbon paper. This helps determine if the filling is too high. If it is, he will file it down, so it lines up with your natural bite.
This ensures the filling is in line with the rest of your teeth, and you won’t have issues while eating. It will also protect the filling from damage.
Amalgam vs Composite Filling: Which is Better?
When we compare amalgam and composite fillings, there are both benefits and drawbacks. Knowing the pros and cons will help you make an informed choice of filling. The chances are very high that you will need a dental filling at some point in your life.
Amalgam fillings have various metals such as silver, mercury, zinc, and copper. They are also known as silver or metal fillings.
As compared to composite resin, amalgam filling is more affordable. It also offers longer-lasting results. It can last up to fifteen years provided you take proper care of it.
The presence of metal alloy, amalgam fillings offer more robust resistance to damage. This makes them a superior choice for larger areas of decay.
However, in recent years, amalgam fillings have developed a bad reputation. This is due to the presence of mercury. Many are sensitive or allergic to mercury.
Another drawback is their appearance. Silver amalgam fillings are more noticeable, especially when laughing or open-mouth smiling.
Over a period of time, amalgam filling can darken the appearance of your entire tooth. It will make it appear greyish and dull, impacting the look of a smile.
These fillings are also known as tooth-colored fillings. They have a combination of acrylic and ceramic. It can be tailor-matched to blend beautifully with your natural tooth enamel. Composite resin offers an aesthetically pleasing restoration.
These fillings require less enamel removal and tooth preparation. This allows you to maintain as much of your natural tooth structure as possible. The disadvantages of this filling is the cost and longevity.
This filling is not considered as cost-effective. Moreover these fillings have a longer treatment time, thereby adding to the cost. Since composite is not as durable as a metal alloy, results generally last about seven to 10 years.
The Advantages of Composite Filling
In comparison with other materials like silver amalgam, this filling can serve many practical purposes. The filling is made of an easily moldable resin. It tightly bonds to fit your existing tooth structure. This tight bond ensures that filling insulates your sensitive underlying tooth more than metal fillings.
The these fillings are tooth-colored. They’re also the first to fill damaged areas in prominent and visible teeth. They are the first choice for chipped front teeth or canines. These fillings are more malleable than metal. They are used for a wider variety of tooth repairs, from chipped tooth to cavities to cracks.
This filling is a better option for fixing the cavities, if the underlying tooth is sensitive. The fillings do not require as much extraction of tooth matter. This is due to the fact that they fit into a smaller hole.
Despite the many advantages of this fillings, note that the best filling is no filling. Prevention is the most effective method for keeping your teeth healthy.
Composite Filling Aftercare
The life of your dental filling solely depends on your eating habits, lifestyle, dental hygiene, oral care. It also depends on the filling material. The the filling typically last for more than 15 years, while the silver amalgam fillings last 25 years. Gold fillings last 20 years.
The durability of this filling in teeth depends on how well you take care of oral and dental hygiene. If you want to keep the filling for a longer duration in your teeth, you must follow the tips given below.
- Avoid eating and chewing hard food as it will affect the chewing surface of your teeth.
- Avoid very cold or hot items.
- It would be best if you were extra careful while brushing.
- Observe oral hygiene practices.
- User may need to use a mouth guard.
- It would help if you visited your dentist regularly for check-ups.
If you follow these steps, you can enjoy your filling for a long time. Your filling will never last for a lifetime. It will tear down with time, and your teeth become exposed to bacteria attack.
So, you must follow the precautions discussed above for its long-lasting performance. Make sure to visit your dentist in Dubai to get the right filling dental procedure and enjoy long-lasting healthy teeth.