Composite resin is a filling material designed for aesthetic dental restorations. It is made to resemble the color of your natural tooth, composite is used for filling cavities or for bonding front teeth.
Composite consists of glass or quartz filler added to a resin medium, which produces a tooth-coloured filling. The invention of composite resin offers a substitute to the amalgam dental fillings we’ve grown so accustomed to. This plastic and glass mixture contains no metal and can be shaped to resemble a real tooth. Onlookers usually can’t tell that a tooth has even been filled!
Although composite resin has only recently gained popularity, white fillings were originally introduced in the 60s. At that time, composite consisted of a different material, and was not sturdy enough to be used on back teeth.
The first composite fillings tended to wear down easily, subjecting the tooth to even more tooth decay or breakage. It has taken years of development for scientists to find the right mixture of composite resin and justify it as a safe, effective filling material.
Frequently Asked Questions About Composite Fillings
1. What are the advantages of composite fillings?
Most patients who choose composite fillings do so because of the cosmetic benefits. Your dentist can create a filling that is personalized to the shade of your teeth, so your fillings will blend seamlessly into your smile. Like all fillings, composites protect your teeth after decay is removed to prevent breakage of the remaining tooth structure. These fillings also help to prevent sensitivity that can occur after the decayed portion of the tooth is removed.
2. What are the disadvantages?
After receiving a composite, a patient may experience post-operative sensitivity. Also, the shade of the composite can change slightly if you drink tea, coffee or other staining foods. Dentist can put a clear plastic coating over the composite to prevent the color from changing if you are particularly concerned about tooth color.
3. Why should we choose composite fillings over metal fillings?
The most obvious answer is appearance. All-white fillings will not compromise your gorgeous smile. Another benefit of composite fillings is that they require less removal of healthy, tooth structure, allowing for more conservative restorations.
4. How can I know if composite fillings are for me?
There are various factors to consider when choosing a material for your fillings. Patients with composites may also be more prone to post-treatment sensitivity. Composite fillings can be stained by coffee, tea, red wine, and other staining foods, and the fillings will not respond to teeth whitening treatments. However, your dentist can put a protective coating on your fillings to reduce staining if this is a concern.
5. What is the cost of composite fillings?
Prices vary, but composite fillings average about one-and-a-half to two times the price of a silver filling. Most dental insurance plans cover the cost of the composite up to the price of a silver filling, with the patient paying the difference.
6. What is the process of composite fillings?
Following preparation, the composite is placed in layers, using a light specialized to harden each layer. When the process is finished, the composite is shaped to fit the tooth. It is then polished the composite to prevent staining and early wear.
7. How long does it take to get a composite filling?
There are many factors that can determine just how long it will take to get a composite filling, including the size of a cavity or fracture, its location, and how many fillings you need. Patients should be prepared to sit in the dentist’s chair for up to one hour or more for a filling.
8. Can my old fillings be replaced by composite fillings?
Many people opt to remove metal fillings and replace them with composites for purely aesthetic reasons. If your old repair starts to crack or leak, you should definitely have the filling updated.
9. Can you eat after a composite filling?
Unlike amalgam fillings, composite fillings allow patients to eat right after getting the procedure. However, dentists do recommend that patients only resume eating after the local anesthetic wears off. It can be quite difficult to eat when your lips and mouth are numb! Plus, you do not want to run the risk of accidentally biting your lip, cheek, or tongue. While composite fillings are very strong, you should probably opt out of chewing anything too crunchy, hard, or sticky right after getting the procedure.
10. How to make your composite fillings last longer?
Many patients see their composite fillings lasting for about ten years. But if you take really great care of your fillings, they may be able to last you longer than that — and even a lifetime! In order to help your composite fillings last longer, you should always see your dentist twice a year for regular dental cleanings and exams, brush your teeth twice a day, floss every day, and eat a variety of healthy food to boost your oral health.