If you dreaded getting cavities when you were a kid we can’t say we blame you. Cavities in teeth can be very painful as they can create a direct path to the nerve beneath the tooth. But for many of us, the humiliation could eclipse even the discomfort from cavities.
Old metal (or amalgam) fillings, which were the standard method of filling cavities, are made from a combination of tin, copper, silver and even mercury which has been linked to a range of health risks. What’s more, they tend to expand and contract when the temperature in your mouth fluctuates with the temperature of your food or drinks. The expansion and contraction can put pressure on the tooth, causing tiny cracks and possibly even breakage.
Those old fashioned amalgam fillings of yesteryear are still used today in many dental practices, but they are far less common. The good news is that you can make the health risks and unsightly appearance of metal amalgam fillings a thing of the past with composite fillings.
Composite fillings are also known as tooth colored fillings or white fillings and can help to restore, repair and protect your teeth without the need for a mouth full of metal. The composite-resin material from which they’re constructed is made of a durable resin mixed with ground porcelain, quartz, or even glass. The composite resin is far more discreet than metal amalgam. What’s more, it’s available in a wide range of shades, and is designed to mimic the natural color, texture and opacity of your teeth, for restorative fixes which are virtually invisible to the untrained eye. Needless to say, our dentists will work with you to ensure that the composite resin used is a perfect match for your teeth. Even if you intend to have your teeth whitened in the future, the resin will still look seamless and discreet.
Inlays and onlays are made using the same materials and methods as composite fillings. However, they are an indirect form of restoration treatment. This means that they are made outside of the mouth as a single piece which is designed to fit neatly over the cavity. They are typically used in back teeth like used in molars or premolars. They are suitable in instances where the tooth has experienced too much damage to support a basic filling, but not enough damage to necessitate a dental crown.
The composite filling process is fairly straightforward/. Composite fillings, inlays and onlays can be applied in a single session so you don’t need to keep going back and forth as is necessary for other treatments like crowns.
First, the dentist numbs the tooth, gum and jaw with a local anesthetic to ensure that the process is completely painless for the patient. When the tooth is completely numb, the dentist cleans the tooth thoroughly and removes any signs of decay before placing the filling.
The resin is cured to the tooth using special colored lights to ensure a tight bond, which helps to maintain the structural integrity of the tooth, and reduce the risk of cracks and fractures at a later date.
Once the resin is cured, the dentist shapes and polishes the composite resin to ensure a comfortable fit and prevent deterioration. In some cases, a clear plastic coating may also be placed over the filling to provide a layer of protection against staining or discoloration from spicy food, tea or coffee.
When the finished composite filling is applied, they will be virtually impossible to detect against your teeth.
Comparing composite fillings to amalgam fillings is like comparing an iPhone to a pocket calculator. Not only are they much more aesthetically appealing, they’re far more robust and functional. There are many reasons why composite, tooth colored fillings are so popular among our patients. They are;
Absolutely! If you’ve long felt self-conscious about your old metal amalgam fillings (or if you’re concerned about the health risks) we can replace your amalgam fillings with composite fillings.
Composite fillings can last as long as 15 years when they are well looked after. Your dental hygiene regimen makes all the difference here. Our dentists will advise you on the best way to take care of your teeth after your fillings so that you get the most out of them.
You wouldn’t trust just anyone with your teeth. When getting a composite filling, you want the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your tooth will stay strong for years to come.
Dr. Steven A. Brisman has been practicing dentistry in Chappaqua and has a wide range of experience in all aspects of dentistry from general dentistry to complex prosthodontics (tooth replacements). Using leading edge equipment and a full complement of hygienic staff, our dentists are able to provide our patients with the highest standard of care. And that will never, ever change.
Contact us today to schedule your first completely complimentary consultation. We can’t wait to get to know your and improve your smile!