If you’ve got a cavity, your dentist might suggest putting in a composite filling to deal with the issue. The journal Materials notes that resins were initially considered for fillings because of their ability to take on different shades and tones. Today, composite fillings are made out of resins but have a much more durable structure and can last much longer than the ones used in the early twentieth century. Your friendly local dentist can guide you towards the correct type of composite filling for your needs. Our blog covers many other materials that might be used for fillings. In this article, we’ll look at whether composite fillings are worth it.
What are Composite Fillings?
A composite filling is an acrylic (resin) plastic that combines with a powdered glass filler. Composites aren’t only used in fillings, either. Because these composite resins can take the color of the tooth, dentists also utilize them for veneers, crowns, inlays, and fills for chipped teeth. A composite filling today is the result of much research into what materials can best withstand the rigors of being in someone’s mouth over the long term. Even so, they have some drawbacks compared to other filling materials.
Pros and Cons of Composite Fillings
Composite fillings have the perfect coloring to be used for filling teeth. In many cases, a casual observer won’t recognize that there’s a filling. They are also quite durable, with a filling lasting an average of seven (7) years. Because they are simple to shape and mold, a composite filling can be done in a single trip. They’re perfect for minor tooth damage, which is why they’re most popular for chip repairs. With most fillings, there’s a period of temperature sensitivity. But with composite fillings, this period is relatively small compared with other filling materials. They also don’t contain elemental mercury as amalgam fillings do. These can feel uncomfortable and has been shown to cause issues for some people, according to the FDA.
On the other side of the equation, an amalgam filling (made of silver) can last significantly longer than a composite filling. The procedure for composite fillings is also a bit more expensive than other filling types. Because of the layering process, composite fillings may take longer to apply to the damaged site. Finally, the dentist needs a dry surface to work on during application. This will allow the teeth have to dry out during the process, which may be uncomfortable for a patient. Despite all these drawbacks, composite fillings might be a viable filling option for those who want something subtler than gold or silver.
Having options is never a bad thing. A highly qualified dentist can help you make the best decisions for your oral health and put your mind at ease.