What are the Available Materials for Tooth Filling?

Composite Filling – Everything You Need to Know

Most people will need a tooth filling at one point in life. This may be because of an accident or injury, bad oral hygiene (leading to cavities, tooth enamel degradation, etc.), or just old age. One of the many secure and long-lasting procedures available is composite fillings. This is the best alternative to conventional metal fillings.

Dental composite fillings are regular tooth fillings that have been painted to match the colour of your original tooth. They are also referred to as resin fillings, white fillings, or tooth-coloured fillings. The best thing about this treatment is that it restores several teeth damages such as cracks, fissures, and decay. They work in the same way as conventional fillings. Your dentist will start by removing the decayed or damaged section of the tooth before placing a composite filling in its place.

To help safeguard and defend your teeth from decay and damage, composite fillings are available in a variety of materials. To guarantee you are satisfied with the course of treatment, you and your dentist will first discuss the best solution for your case during the initial consultation.

What are the Advantages of Composite Filling?

As you may already know, composite fillings have been around for close to 50 years. They have been around for this long because of the numerous benefits they offer over other materials. Here are the key reasons why they are highly sought after.

  • Natural colour

The major draw card for most people is the aesthetics that come with composite fillings. These fillings are made to match the shade of your natural teeth. This makes them less visible than amalgam fillings.

  • Reduces bacteria in the mouth

Before the fillings are used, the part of the tooth or teeth that are damaged is first removed. The composite filling is then used to fill the removed part. As a result of removing the damaged section, the amount of bacteria in the mouth is reduced. This reduces the risk of tooth infection and decay.

  • Less preparation

If you fear dental procedures, composite fillings will be ideal for you. This is because the procedure involves less drilling and preparation than amalgam fillings. Minimal work will be done, and your teeth will be restored within less time.

  • Extends the life of your tooth

Without the option of removing the damaged section, you may have to remove the affected tooth. Composite fillings allow you to start using your restored tooth as soon as the procedure is done. The treatment eliminates the need for other dental work.

What are the Key Differences Between Amalgam and Composite Fillings?

  • Aesthetics

The key difference between amalgam and composite fillings is the aesthetics. Composite fillings are made to match the colour of your teeth in shades of white. Amalgam fillings, on the other hand, are made of metal. They are made of silver, zinc, copper or mercury. Their natural metallic colour makes it impossible for them to blend in. The amalgam fillings will always stand out. Although this is not a big concern when filling the back teeth, the fillings will be seen when you open your mouth to eat, talk or smile.

  • Amount of tooth removal

Both composite and amalgam fillings require the damaged section of the tooth to be removed. However, it is good to note that with amalgam fillings, a bigger section of the affected tooth will be removed. This makes amalgam fillings unideal for people who dislike lengthy dental procedures. With composite fillings, the dentist will remove a very small amount of the tooth. This enables the tooth to retain more of its natural strength and structure.

  • Durability

While composite fillings excel in many areas, when it comes to durability, they are a tad lacking. Composite fillings are made of ceramic and plastic compounds which are strong enough to be used on any tooth. However, when compared to amalgam fillings, composite fillings don’t last as long. They become worn down from grinding and chewing. This is why some dentists recommend amalgam fillings in the back of the mouth because they are concerned about wear and tear. Amalgam fillings are preferred for their remarkable strength and durability.

As you can see, the choice of whether to use composite fillings or amalgam fillings comes down to the location of the tooth cavity. For cavities located at the very back of the mouth, you will get away with amalgam fillings. However, for cavities in the front teeth, composite fillings will be a better choice. In the end, a discussion with your dentist will help you decide on the best filling option.

Does it Cause Cancer?

Composite fillings that contain Bisphenol A or other toxic materials can be toxic. As the fillings wear down, the toxic materials can seep into the oral cavity. This is why most people worry about the fillings causing cancer. The truth is this there is no evidence that composite fillings can cause cancer. However, excessive exposure to Bisphenol A has been associated with:

  • Reproductive problems
  • Hormone disruptions
  • Endocrine disorders
  • Increased risk of heart disease and hypertension
  • Behavioral concerns in children

Today, composite resin fillings are the most common because they are considered safer. It is, however, good to check with your dentist because no two batches of composite resin are the same. Some may contain acrylics and other materials to allow for bonding. A dentist will, however, avoid using composites that contain Bisphenol A or other harmful materials.

How Long Does It Last?

Composite fillings bond with the surrounding tooth using an adhesive. While they do not last as long as amalgam fillings (which require to be replaced in about 15 years), composite fillings last an average of 7 years. This is according to a 2010 study published in the National Library of Medicine. Another research by the National Library of Medicine from 2014, however, showed that with proper care, composite fillings could last as long as 10 years or even more if the fillings are smaller and the patient has good oral health. How you care for your teeth will determine how long the fillings last. You will also need regular dental checkups.

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