Treatment

Fillings for Dental Cavities

At some point or other in our lives, most of us wind up with a cavity. In most cases, a cavity calls for your dentist to remove the decay and to fill in the tooth area that was removed. There have been a number of advances in the field over the past few years, so if you’re one of the lucky ones and haven’t had a cavity in a while, you should read up on what is available today so that you understand the choices available to you.

What Are Composite Resin Fillings?

Most of us have had amalgam fillings (silver) or gold filling restorations. Some amalgam fillings were what we have called mercury fillings, as some amalgam fillings contained mercury. Metal fillings were effective, but very conspicuous and tended to blacken in color over time.

Composite resin dental fillings were created as an alternative to traditional metal dental fillings. Tooth fillings colored to look like a natural tooth are known as Composite Resin Dental Fillings, are made of a plastic dental resin. Composite Resin Dental Fillings are strong, durable, and make for a very natural looking smile. Many dental insurance plans cover their use.

Who Is a Candidate for Composite Resin Fillings?

If you have a cavity in a tooth, broken fillings, mercury fillings, or amalgam fillings, this type of dental filling is well worth discussing with your dentist. Mercury fillings or amalgam fillings can easily be removed and replaced with far more attractive colored fillings. These fillings actually strengthen your tooth beyond the level it had with the amalgam fillings.
Composite resins may also be used to enhance the appearance of any tooth, which is a tooth bonding procedure. The composite resin will strengthen and enhance the natural tooth structure as it does with use as a dental filling.

Composite Resin Fillings

How Are Composite Resin Fillings Different From Amalgam Fillings?

Composite resin dental fillings were created as an alternative to traditional metal dental fillings. Tooth fillings colored to look like a natural tooth are known as Composite Resin Dental Fillings, are made of a plastic dental resin. Composite Resin Dental Fillings are strong, durable, and make for a very natural looking smile. Many dental insurance plans cover their use.

How Are Composite Resin Fillings Accomplished?

Your dentist will give you a local anesthetic to numb the area. The dentist then prepares an access to the decayed area of the tooth and removes the decayed portions. This is accomplished with traditional drills, micro air abrasion or even with a dental laser. With a composite filling, your dentist will preserve more of the natural tooth as the composite resin can be bonded to the tooth in thin layers. If your tooth’s decayed area is close to a nerve, a special liner will be used to protect the nerve.
A special dental material is then used to open up the pores of your tooth’s dentin and roughens up the surface of the exposed enamel. This achieves better and stronger bond. The bond resin is applied to stick the composite to your tooth. This material is made of the same dental resin as the composite however it is much more fluid. This layer is then hardened and cured with a very bright light.
Composite resin fillings are applied in thin layers, and slowly built up to form the complete filling. A bright dental light will harden each layer before the next is applied.
Once your filling is completed, your dentist will use a special paper, articulating paper, to adjust the height of your dental filling and that your bite remains correct. Your tooth is then polished.
If such a filling is not going to be enough to protect your damaged tooth, or if your tooth enamel is thin and will easily fracture, or if your tooth has had a root canal that weakened your tooth condition, your tooth may require additional protection such as a crown.

Types of Dental Fillings

Composite Resin Fillings

There are no known health risks of receiving composite fillings. Composite resin dental fillings were created as an alternative to traditional metal dental fillings. Tooth fillings colored to look like a natural tooth are known as Composite Resin Dental Fillings, are made of a plastic dental resin. Composite Resin Dental Fillings are strong, durable, and make for a very natural looking smile. Many dental insurance plans cover their use.

Amalgam Fillings

Amalgam fillings may contain mercury, and are often referred to as metal fillings. Their safety has been in question for a number of years due to concerns over the absorption of elemental mercury contributing to several diseases, including Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, dementia and arthritis. The FDA investigations have not proven that the minute amount of mercury vapors released from silver fillings is a health hazard. Amalgam fillings are a mixture of mercury liquid and small pieces of silver and other metals such as copper, tin and zinc.

Inlays and Onlays

If over half of your molar tooth’s biting surface is decayed an inlay or onlay may be a better option than a filling. These options are basically for when more than a filling is needed, but less than a crown will do. An inlay is placed in between the cusps of the tooth, whereas an only will cover one or more of the cusps. They can be made of a gold alloy, porcelain or tooth-colored resin and are cemented into place.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Composite Resin Fillings

Pros and Cons of a composite resin fillings

Advantages:
The composite of composite resin fillings bonds to further support the remaining tooth structure, which helps prevent breakage and damage to your tooth. They certainly look better, and are color blended to match your natural tooth color. These fillings are often used to improve the appearance of misshapen, chipped or discolored teeth.
Composite resin fillings last about six to twelve years or more, and the procedure usually takes just one visit to your dentist. There is very little sensitivity to hot or cold items often experienced with amalgam fillings. The dentist won’t need to drill as much of the tooth structure as with amalgam fillings.

Disadvantages:

Composite resin fillings require more time to apply than amalgam fillings. This results in an increased cost for placing composite fillings.

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