To treat a cavity, a dentist removes the decayed portion of the tooth and then “fills” the area of the tooth from which the decayed material was taken. Dental filling refers to the substance used to fill in this space in the tooth. Dental fillings are also used to repair cracked or broken teeth and teeth that have been worn down from misuse, such as teeth grinding or nail biting.
Today, several dental filling materials are available and in use. Teeth can be filled with gold; porcelain; silver amalgam (which consists of mercury mixed with silver, tin, zinc, and copper); or composite fillings. Composite dental fillings are made of synthetic resins that are resistant to dehydration and relatively easy to manipulate. They offer several advantages over traditional gold and amalgam fillings. First and foremost is the aesthetic advantage. The shade and color of composite fillings can be closely matched to the color of existing teeth. For that reason, composite fillings are the best choice for use in front teeth and other visible parts of the mouth.
While not as durable and long lasting as amalgam fillings (they may need to be replaced within 10 years), composite fillings have grown in popularity. In addition to aesthetics, a key advantage of composite fillings is that they bond chemically to the tooth structure, so they provide added support, help prevent breakage, and insulate the tooth from excessive temperature changes.
It generally takes longer to place a composite filling than it does for a metal filling. That’s because composite fillings require the tooth be kept clean and dry while the cavity is being filled. Tooth-colored composite fillings are now used more often than amalgam or gold fillings, because of their cosmetic advantages. In a society that values having a white, bright smile, people tend to want fillings that blend with the natural color of their teeth.
Ultimately, the best dental filling is no dental filling, so prevention is the best medicine. You can substantially decrease your risk of cavities and other dental diseases simply by:
- brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
- flossing daily
- eating a balanced diet
- visiting the dentist regularly.
Is a composite filling right for you?
Several factors are used to determine the type of filling that will work best for a patient. These include the location and extent of the tooth decay, the cost of the filling material, the type of dental insurance coverage, and the dentist’s recommendation.
Crystal Dental offers composite dental fillings at all of our locations. Your Crystal dentist will be happy to discuss the procedure in greater detail and discuss the various options available to you. Contact Us!