Imagine your most recent visit to the dentist ending in bad news: You have a cavity that must be eliminated and replaced with a filling. Fillings help restore a damaged tooth to its normal functions and can prevent further decay. While the number of cavities and need for fillings has decreased over time as progressively more people have become better educated in dental hygiene and technology has advanced to help us care for our teeth, there is still a demand for them.
Fortunately, fillings have also advanced to the point that there are now more choices for them than in any prior generation. At Douglas L. Park, DDS, Pediatric Dentistry, we pride ourselves in satisfying the filling needs of all ages. Children may often perceive this as more of an adult problem, but cavities do not discriminate based on age and our pediatric dentist is no stranger to working on younger demographics from baby teeth to adolescents. If you or a loved one are considering or have been recommended to get a filling, please call us at (503) 663-8141 to make an appointment and discuss your options.
What is a Composite Filling?
“Composite” or tooth-colored fillings refer to a type of resin material designed for aesthetic oral restorations, formed to resemble the color of your natural teeth as closely as possible. Most often used for covering cavities and capable of being applied on the front or back teeth, they’re a great option for patients wanting their fillings to appear more natural.
Advantages of a Composite Filling
Composite resin offers multiple advantages over the outdated amalgam filling. Although white colored fillings had been around since the 1960s, amalgam was the best material available years ago while patients seeking a more natural look were left with more expensive options like a dental crown.
Today, composite resin allows us to cosmetically restore cavities without need for such invasive treatment. Firstly, as said, this filling can be shaded to match your teeth’s natural color, blending in far better than gold or silver. This has obviously contributed to why composites have grown so popular.
Secondly, composites provide stronger durability and resistance than cheaper types against fracture or other damage from the pressure of everyday activities like chewing. This is especially helpful for small-medium sized teeth, which can’t handle as much stress from bite force.
How is a Composite Filling Made?
Composite resin is composed of glass or quartz filler added to a resin medium. It’s basically a plastic and glass mixture, which contains no metals and can be sculpted to the exact model of your real tooth.
How is a Composite Filling Procedure Done?
||Dr. Park will isolate the tooth from your saliva and keep it dry.
||A drill or air abrasion will be used to remove the cavity-infected area of your tooth.
||Composite resin is applied onto the layers over the opening.
||A special lighting tool hardens each layer of the composite resin.
||Once your new and improved tooth is filled, the resin is reshaped to match your real teeth.
The procedure to complete a composite application takes more time in the dental chair and more work compared to getting an amalgam filling, but almost all patients are impressed with the results.
Disadvantages of a Composite Filling
There are many factors Dr. Park will go over with you when determining which type of filling is right for you, including the extent of repair, where in your mouth the filling is being applied, costs, etc. It’s important to be prepared; however, for the filling you want not to be the best choice.
Composite fillings, for example, are not a great fit for every patient. The resin is less durable than a mix of metals like those in amalgam. Consequently, this sometimes causes them to not last as long as other materials. They’re most beneficial for a small filling and best suited for teeth that experience only moderate pressure while chewing.
Remember, for any other questions you may have about composite fillings or to schedule a visit, call Douglas L. Park, DDS, Pediatric Dentistry at (503) 663-8141.