Composite Fillings: Tooth-Colored Fillings Simi Valley CA
What are composite fillings?
In the past, dental cavities were filled with a mixture of metal alloys, also known as amalgam. Today, tooth-colored or composite fillings are a mixture of resin, glass, or quartz and porcelain ceramics. These materials are resilient and long-lasting. These filings are colored to match the patient’s teeth and are practically invisible to the untrained eye. For aesthetic and/or medical purposes, these tooth-colored fillings can be used to replace old and worn dental amalgam, gold, or other metal fillings.
What are the benefits of tooth-colored fillings?
Dr. Bankhardt now prefers composite resin for filling teeth. Cosmetically, these fillings are far superior to amalgam; they are basically invisible in your tooth. Composite resin is a combination of powdered glass, acrylic resin, and porcelain. Composite resin continues to change with technology, as well, making it more and more durable. Unlike amalgam, composite resin bonds to the tooth, rather than simply being packed down into it.
Tooth-colored fillings have various advantages over amalgam:
- Composite and porcelain fillings match the color or your tooth enamel, so they blend perfectly and cannot be seen.
- Composite is metal- and mercury-free.
- The filling is bonded to the tooth, which actually pulls inward on the tooth’s periphery, making the tooth stronger.
- Tooth-colored fillings require less healthy tooth tissue to be removed.
Who is a good candidate for tooth-colored fillings?
Anyone is a great candidate for these fillings with Dr. Bankhardt. If you’d like to get that old silver amalgam and mercury out of your mouth, these fillings are perfect. Plus, unlike your old silver fillings, no one can see composite resin in your molars. Whether it’s a new filling to repair an area with new decay or to replace an old, failing amalgam filling, these new tooth-colored fillings are the ticket.
What to expect during treatment
Once Dr. Bankhardt removes the decay from a tooth, he thoroughly cleans and disinfects the area. He then places the composite resin layer by layer. Every layer is hardened with the use of a curing light, and then the next layer is applied. He sculpts the resin to conform to the natural shape of the tooth. When satisfied with the appearance, the final layer is hardened, and the tooth is polished. Now your tooth is free of decay, healthy, and has an invisible restoration.
what to expect during recovery
No, these are simple procedures, and you can go right back to work or other normal activities.
Is there any recovery time after having a filling placed?
No, these are simple procedures, you can go right back to work or resume other normal activities.
how to care for tooth-colored fillings
There is no difference in your maintenance and hygiene for these fillings. Simply brush twice a day with an ADA-approved toothpaste with fluoride and floss once a day.
How long do composite fillings last?
Earlier forms of composite resin weren’t as durable as today’s resins. Because of this, early resins were only used for small fillings on non-molars. But technological advancements keep increasing the strength and durability of composite resin, making it a perfect option for all fillings. Today, tooth-colored fillings are more popular than amalgam. Although there is some conflicting research based on older resins, both tooth-colored fillings and amalgam are showing an average lifespan of around 12 years. But just as you probably experienced with some of your silver amalgam fillings, they can last for far longer than 12 years.
silver vs. composite fillings
Silver amalgam has been used to fill cavities caused by tooth decay since the 1800s. Hundreds of millions of teeth over that time have had silver amalgam fillings.
Dental amalgam is a mixture of metals consisting of liquid mercury and a powdered alloy comprised of silver, tin, and copper. That’s doesn’t sound like something you’d like to have in your teeth, but there’s one reason for the popularity of amalgam — strength. Amalgam fillings are very durable and can last for decades.
But amalgam fillings have problems:
- They are unsightly. When you open your mouth, everyone can see exactly how many amalgam fillings you have.
- They require more of the healthy tooth to be removed. Silver amalgam isn’t bonded onto the tooth; it is packed in. To adequately anchor the filling more of the healthy tooth (in addition to the decayed portion) needs to be removed and a ridged surface is created to hold the amalgam.
- No one wants mercury in his or her mouth. While they’ve been deemed safe, people are less and less interested in having a combination of metals, particularly mercury, in their mouths.
- Amalgam fillings can crack teeth. Because the metals expand and contract with hot and cold, amalgam fillings can cause the tooth to crack.
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While composite fillings have visual advantages, over time they can become discolored. Just like metal fillings, tooth-colored fillings can be set and cured in one visit to the dentist.
Tooth-colored fillings are priced similarly to a metallic alloy. They are not as long-lasting as amalgam fillings and may chip in certain locations of the mouth. The dentist will discuss filling material options and recommend options based on the patient’s medical and aesthetic needs.