repair cavities with natural-looking composite fillings
Most people will receive a cavity diagnosis at some point in their life. According to the American Dental Association, over 90 percent of people between the ages of 20 and 65 have been diagnosed with at least one cavity. While amalgam fillings have traditionally been the recommended treatment, at Metropolitan Dental Care, our dentists provide composite fillings to treat patients with mild to moderate tooth decay. Composite fillings can also be used to strengthen teeth with conservative surface wear and tear.
composite fillings vs. silver amalgam fillings
Composite fillings, also known as tooth-colored fillings, are made from a mixture of glass and quartz and used to repair small to midsize decay or damage on the surface of teeth. Before the mixture is applied, it is color-matched to blend with the natural shade of your tooth. Composite resin fillings have grown in popularity in recent years for their ability to provide sturdy restorations that are aesthetically pleasing. In addition, because they do not contain mercury, they provide a safer alternative to silver amalgam (metal) fillings.
Amalgam fillings are made of a combination of metals and minerals, including mercury. Although a minimal amount is contained, mercury in even the smallest amounts can be toxic to your overall health. In addition, metal fillings can expand and contract easily with hot or cold foods, resulting in tooth fissures.
Composite Filling used on Chipped tooth. Before picture to left, after picture to right.
what to expect during the procedure
Patients are encouraged to attend biannual cleanings and examinations so tooth decay and damage can be diagnosed in its earliest stages. If left untreated, it can result in greater damage and poor gum health. During your examination, one of our dentists will use digital x-ray technology to survey the health of your teeth and gums. If a cavity is assumed, x-rays will be able to identify the exact location and extent of damage.
Our dentists can provide same day treatment to repair your smile. Treatment can generally be completed in four simple steps:
- Step 1 – Anesthesia: Before beginning the treatment, the dentist will administer a local anesthetic to numb the tooth and ensure optimal comfort.
- Step 2 – Tooth Preparation: The dentist will then remove the unhealthy bacteria and thoroughly disinfect the tooth to provide a sterilized environment. If necessary, the tooth will be gently reshaped.
- Step 3 – Composite Application: Once the tooth is cleaned and dried, the composite resin will be mixed, shade-matched, and gently molded over the tooth to fill the cavity or damaged area. Composite resin requires a special application technique and an eye for detail to provide adequate results. As it is carefully layered, a curing light will be used to harden the resin.
- Step 4 – Tooth Polishing: When the dentist is satisfied with the results, he or she will trim any excess, check your bite for proper occlusion, and polish the tooth.
benefits of composite fillings
Although results are not permanent, composite resin fillings can last up to 10 years if they are well cared for. As with other types of dental restorations, composite fillings will eventually need to be replaced to ensure the functionality of your smile stays in place. Perhaps the greatest advantage of composite fillings is their ability to match the natural color of your teeth, helping you to maintain your beautiful smile.
Other benefits include:
- Secure bond, providing lasting and durable results
- Less enamel removal
- Smooth texture
- Safer alternative to amalgam fillings, providing, improved oral and physical health
If you struggle from dental sensitivity, especially when consuming hot, cold, or sugary foods, it is highly possible you have a cavity. Treating a cavity immediately can help you preserve your natural teeth much longer. Please contact our Denver, CO office today. You can reach us online or call (303) 534-2626 to schedule your consultation.