Composite fillings are commonly used today to fill small to mid-sized cavities. They are used because they are more aesthetically pleasing than their metal counterparts, but also because they are durable and resistant to fracture. Our cosmetic dentistry experts can use composite fillings on both front and back teeth, allowing our patients to have their most natural-looking smile.
A composite filling utilizes a resin material to fill in a cavity, and does not contain any metal or mercury. The composite resin bonds to your natural tooth structure – this means less of your tooth has to be removed to accommodate the filling.
What is the procedure to get a composite filling?
Our cosmetic dentists begin by finding the perfect color match for your composite resin filling. Then, we’ll use a local anesthetic to numb the tooth and surrounding area. We will remove the decayed part of the tooth, taking care to keep as much natural tooth structure intact as possible. Then, we clean, dry and prepare the tooth. We carefully etch and bond the tooth to allow for the resin to attach properly. We then begin layering the composite resin material in the filling, taking care to set each layer before moving on to the next. The composite resin is carefully shaped and contoured and then polished. The final step is checking your bite to ensure you are happy with how the composite filling feels.
How long do composite fillings last?
Composite fillings are very durable, however, they do have a shorter lifespan than metal fillings. If you take proper care of your filling, it should last for up to 10 years.
Are there factors that contribute to the longevity of my composite filling?
There are many factors that can impact how long your composite filling may last, including:
- Where the filling is located – think of the pressure your mouth, especially your back molars, is under each day. Wear and tear from biting and chewing can affect the longevity
- Size of the filling – smaller fillings will last longer than large fillings
- Whether you grind your teeth – some people suffer from bruxism, a condition in which they clench and grind their teeth. This will place more wear on the filling, which could impact the life of your filling
- Food and drink – sugary and acidic foods and drinks wear down enamel faster, which can decrease the life of your filling
- Bad oral hygiene – maintaining a good oral care routine will extend the life of your filling
When dental decay occurs, fillings are the hero that steps in to save the tooth and prevent the decay from spreading further. Composite fillings are newer than the metal amalgam fillings that were standard practice, but are quickly becoming the go-to restorative and cosmetic solution when decay sets in.
Patients love them because they blend in seamlessly with their natural smiles and they require less of the natural tooth to be removed, maintaining the integrity of the tooth. Because they are made to blend in with the natural smile they can be used on front and back teeth alike. The resin composite bonds directly to the tooth enamel, making them less likely to come loose. They are not affected by changes in temperature, so there is no need to worry about tooth sensitivity or the filling expanding or contracting.
If you are interested in learning more about composite resin fillings and how they can improve your smile, call our cosmetic dentistry experts today.