Composite fillings

Composite fillings

Composite fillings

A composite (tooth colored) filling is used to repair a tooth that is affected by decay, cracks, fractures, etc.  The decayed or affected portion of the tooth will be removed and then filled with a composite filling.

There are many types of filling materials available, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.  You and your dentist can discuss the best options for restoring your teeth.  Composite fillings, along with silver amalgam fillings, are the most widely used today.  Because composite fillings are tooth colored, they can be closely matched to the color of existing teeth, and are more aesthetically suited for use in front teeth or the more visible areas of the teeth.

As with most dental restorations, composite fillings are not permanent and may someday have to be replaced.  They are very durable, and will last many years, giving you a long-lasting, beautiful smile.

Reasons for composite fillings:

  1. Chipped teeth
  2. Closing space between two teeth
  3. Cracked or broken teeth
  4. Decayed teeth
  5. Worn teeth.

How are composite fillings placed?

Composite fillings are usually placed in one appointment.  While the tooth is numb, your dentist will remove decay as necessary.  The space will then be thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared before the new filling is placed.  If the decay was near the nerve of the tooth, a special medication will be applied for added protection.  The composite filling will then be precisely placed, shaped, and polished, restoring your tooth to its original shape and function.

It is normal to experience sensitivity to hot and cold when composite fillings are first placed, however this will subside shortly after your tooth adjusts to the new filling.

You will be given care instructions at the conclusion of your treatment.  Good oral hygiene practices, eating habits, and regular dental visits will prolong the life of your new fillings.

Differences between amalgam and composite fillings

There are several important differences between the two types of fillings. It’s not just a matter of appearance.

Advantages of white fillings:

  1. Composite fillings restore the natural appearance of the tooth.
  2. Since they bond with the tooth, composite fillings restore most of the original strength of the tooth. Silver fillings weaken the teeth, making them more susceptible to breaking, because in time they may expand a little.
  3. In silver fillings there’s a chance of undetectable decay leading to silent destruction of the tooth structure until pain indicates the need of treatment.
  4. On the other hand, in composite fillings, the decay would be much more easily detected before the pain and expensive procedures start.
  5. Composites require less removal of tooth structure, especially with new cavities, where the size for the hole made for the filling can be much smaller with composites.
  6. Composite fillings are mercury free fillings and therefore you are avoiding any possibilities of chronic mercury intoxication.
  7. With too many amalgam fillings in the mouth, there is a chance that they form a minute electric current (different alloys make batteries), which could affect the soft tissue of the mouth in the long term.


Advantages of silver fillings:

  1. They are generally less expensive.
  2. Silver fillings take less time to place and their placement is not as complicated as with the white fillings.
  3. In some rare cases, silver filling is the only solution.
  4. In case you drink strong alcoholic drinks (more than35-40% alcohol) every day, you may consider silver fillings because white filling will deteriorate permanently.
  5. Silver (amalgam) fillings have a longer history of use than composite, thus some people feel that they are more tried and tested.

Take into consideration that composites have been used for 50 years with constant progress in material structure and colour, which is enough time for them to step up to the silver fillings.

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