When individuals experience cavities and other problems that affect their teeth, dentists use a dental filling to repair and restore them. This helps preserve damaged teeth and prevents their loss. Dental fillings are the most common type of dental work: according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 90% of Americans have had…
What Is a Composite Dental Filling?
A composite dental filling is a mixture of plastics and glass that can be used to fix a variety of dental issues. The putty-like resin is applied directly to teeth and can be used to address a variety of problems, like cavities, damage caused by tooth decay, discolored teeth, chipped teeth and broken teeth.
Fixing a tooth with composite resin is a straightforward process. The decayed part of the tooth is removed, and the composite is used to fix any damage present.
Figuring out if you need a composite dental filling
Composites are not the only type of dental filling used to repair damaged teeth. Fillings can be made from other materials, like silver amalgam, porcelain, gold or metal alloys. Silver amalgam fillings have been used by dentists for over a century and remain one of the more durable types of filling. However, their dark grey color can ruin the appearance of teeth that have been restored with amalgam because it can be noticed whenever the patient opens their mouth.
Porcelain dental fillings create the best aesthetics for a patient's teeth, but these normally require two trips to the dentist. These restorations are made in a lab, then cemented to the damaged tooth. An impression of the damaged tooth is used to make a porcelain filling, and it takes roughly two weeks for the dental lab to get it back to the dentist. Gold fillings are the most durable type, but their yellow color sticks out.
Composite resin fillings can be matched with the color of the patient's teeth, making it difficult to notice any repairs made with them. Applying these fillings to a damaged tooth also happens to be one of the more affordable ways that a dentist can fix a cavity or restore a damaged tooth.
Composite bonding does not require making any permanent changes to a tooth, such as the removal of enamel. A tooth being treated is only roughened with an etching solution, to ensure that the resin sticks to it when it is applied. Some of the other treatments for tooth decay, like covering the tooth with a crown, require the removal of enamel from all of the tooth's sides. This weakens the tooth and means that it will always need to be protected with a restoration.
Repairs made with composite resin can last over five years with good oral hygiene. Issues that a dentist might decide to fix with dental bonding include:
- Cracked or broken teeth
- Chipped teeth
- Decayed teeth
- Spaces between teeth
- Worn-down teeth
Applying composite fillings
It only takes a visit to the dentist to have a tooth treated with composite bonding. The dentist might apply a local anesthetic near the tooth, then remove any decayed material and clean the area. The tooth's surface is roughened with an etching solution, and the composite is applied to it in layers. It is shaped as desired before being hardened with a curing light.
Fix your smile today
Call or visit our St. George clinic to learn more about how our family dentist can fix cavities and other damage to your teeth with dental bonding.
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