Composite fillings are tooth-colored, resin-based materials. Over time, they have become popular as part of restorative dentistry because they are not prone to dehydration, insoluble, look like teeth, are easy to manipulate, and are relatively inexpensive. Dentists recommend composite fillings to help treat cavities. They are best used by those who want natural-looking fillings
Types of dental fillings
There are two types of dental fillings that most dental patients prefer. These are amalgam fillings and composite fillings. Amalgam fillings are made from metal and are the more traditional option. Therefore, amalgam fillings do not look like your natural teeth.
On the other hand, composite fillings are made of plastics and ceramics, look like natural teeth, and have great strength. Interestingly, there are cases where an amalgam filling could triumph over the more recent, natural-looking, tooth-colored fillings. For instance, your dentist may recommend it in cases where your teeth may need protection when you chew. The dentist understands the best type of filling for you.
The procedure for getting a composite filling involves various processes. Usually, the dentist uses anesthesia to numb the surrounding area before carrying out any further actions. Then, he/she will use a laser or drill to extract the decayed parts.
The dentist will then test to see if all the decay around the area has been eliminated. If the decay is eliminated, the dentist will clean it to free the tooth from microorganisms and debris. For decay near the root, the dentist will put a medicament such as a base or a liner for the nerve’s protection.
The dentist then finishes filling the tooth in layers. Each layer of the composite resin is cured under a special UV light that hardens it. After the dental filling is done, the tooth or teeth are shaped to the desired result, and any excess material is trimmed off. Polishing is the last step before the tooth is ready.
How Long Do Composite Fillings Last?
The technology behind composite fillings has advanced greatly in the last 20 years, making them an incredibly long-lasting material. A composite filling lasts up to 10 years or more, depending on various factors. For instance, they may last more years when placed in the front teeth than the molars, where the chewing force is more significant.
Additionally, a smaller dental composite filling tends to last longer, and so do the fillings of people who do not suffer from bruxism (grinding), which would put unnecessary pressure on the teeth.
Also, your dental composite filling may last longer, depending on your diet. If your food and drinks are acidic and sugary, the risk of enamel erosion is more significant, and your composite fillings are likely to last for shorter periods.
Lastly, the technique used to place the composite fillings can affect the lifespan. The tooth affected should be treated appropriately and dried before filling to ensure that it doesn’t get contaminated by the bacteria and moisture in the area.
How to Care for Composite Fillings
Your oral hygiene is an essential part of caring for the longevity of the composite fillings. Make regular brushing and flossing a part of your oral hygiene for better outcomes. Ensuring your enamel and the affected areas are always clean increases the chances of your fillings lasting longer and reduce the probability of tooth decay.
Avoid hard and chewy foods that can cause damage and wear down of the tooth and filling. Visit your specialist for regular dental checkups to ensure the fillings are still in place and that there is no new decay.