Dental fillings are used to repair damage to teeth enamel or dentin. Dentists generally apply either amalgam or composite resin materials to minimally fractured or decayed teeth. In recent years, composite resin fillings, also known as tooth colored fillings, have become the preferred choice by patients and dentists.
Composite fillings will not only repair and restore decayed tooth surfaces, this material is also used in cosmetic dentistry to improve the appearance of discolored or misshapen teeth. The tooth-colored composite resin is more aesthetically appealing than traditional fillings and doesn’t contain mercury. In addition, it bonds directly to the enamel with less tooth preparation.
After minimal tooth preparation, the composite is placed in layers. Your dentist applies a special light to harden each layer. After this process is completed, the composite layers are shaped to fit the tooth and polished.
The price of composite resin fillings varies, but it can cost twice as much as amalgam teeth fillings. Dental insurance companies will typically pay up to the rate of a metal filling, the patient usually has to pay the difference. As technology advances and composites improve, it is highly likely that insurance companies will agree to provide better coverage.
The biggest advantage of composite fillings is the aesthetic appeal. Dentists can blend shades to match the color of natural teeth. They also bond well to the enamel and provide strength and support to the tooth structure.
One possible disadvantage after a composite filling is placed is postoperative tooth sensitivity, but this side effect doesn’t last long. Some patients who drink coffee, tea or other staining foods may notice a slight change in the composite color. This can be avoided if the dentist applies a transparent coating over the filling to prevent staining. Also, composite fillings don’t wear as long as metal fillings used for large cavities, but they are just as effective for smaller cavities.
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