Dentists use fillings to fill areas of the tooth that are afflicted with decay. After all of the decay has been removed from the surface, a tooth-colored filling will be set in place to seal the area.
Reasons Why You May Need a Tooth-Colored Filling
We may recommend a tooth-colored filling for you if:
|•||You have a chipped anterior (front) tooth that requires restoration|
|•||You have a small to medium sized cavity that requires restoration|
|•||Your teeth require minor restoration due to cracking from bruxism (teeth grinding)|
Composite fillings are named after their composition of quartz and filler in a resin medium. Fillings are tooth-colored, which helps them to naturally blend into the existing tooth. In addition to using composite fillings to restore areas of decay on a tooth, they may also be used to repair chipped, cracked or worn teeth. This is usually done on anterior tooth fractures as it offers an aesthetically pleasing repair option that is more cost-effective than a crown or veneer. However, though less expensive the life expectancy for a composite filling to repair a tooth is less than that of both crowns and veneers.
Advantages to Composite Fillings
There are many benefits to using composite fillings as opposed to other materials such as gold, amalgam or silver. First off, composite material will actually chemically bond to the natural tooth offering exceptional durability. They are best suited for small to medium sized cavities where they provide ample strength and resistance to moderate chewing pressure. Because the filling itself is tooth colored it is ideal for cavities occurring on anterior - front - teeth. Additionally, when preparing the tooth for the filling less of the natural tooth structure needs to be removed when using composite fillings compared to alternative options.
Disadvantages to Composite Fillings
The process of placing a composite filling is a bit more labor intensive than other restoration options due to the fact that the whole tooth must remain clean and dry throughout the entire procedure. This normally results in about 20 additional minutes of chair time compared to other filling type procedures. If you have a composite filling, you can expect that over time tooth-colored composite fillings may begin to discolor or become stained due to exposure to some foods and beverages. It is hard to estimate exactly how long a composite filling will last, as it really depends on the placement in the mouth and the amount of pressure it undergoes on a daily basis. Generally, with an average life expectancy of approximately 5 to 10 years it is to be expected that composite fillings will not ever outlast an amalgam filling. Amalgam fillings have an approximate life expectancy of 10 to 15 years.
To maintain your filling, you should always practice proper oral hygiene - visiting Caldera Dental Group on a regular basis for routine checkups, brushing at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day. Our office also offers Inlays and Onlays as an alternative treatment.
If you are noticing a tooth that is sensitive for more than one week, it is essential that you call our office at (541) 604-2900 to schedule an examination of the tooth and to determine if treatment is necessary.