Cavities are a common problem, affecting most Americans at some point in time. Fortunately, you can restore your smile back to an appealing and healthy state after learning you have one or more cavities. Today, more and more people are seeing the benefits of composite fillings. Even though they are becoming a popular treatment, most people are not truly familiar with how composite fillings are beneficial for their smiles. This guide will help you understand composite fillings, their benefits, and how to maintain your new and improved smile.
Composite Fillings 101
If you have a cavity, your dentist may recommend a composite filling for a variety of reasons.
Firstly, composite fillings are created using resin material that is matched to the color of your existing teeth. This ensures the filing is not noticeable, which is beneficial if your cavity is in a tooth near the front of your smile.
Composite fillings are also very strong and durable. They can be used to fill cavities in teeth that experience the most pressure and stress while chewing. For example, if you have a cavity in a back molar, a composite filling would be a great option because it is strong enough to withstand hard pressure from biting and chewing.
Composite fillings can also restore your smile quickly, especially since your treated tooth can be used right after the procedure. You may be surprised to learn that composite fillings are not only used on cavities. The composite resin material can also be used as a bonding agent, restoring chips, cracks, fractures, and other imperfections in your teeth.
Finally, if you have sensitivities or allergies to metal, your dentist will suggest avoid amalgam fillings and use composite fillings instead.
Composite Fillings Procedure
If you believe that a composite filling is right for filling your cavity, understanding the procedure is smart. The procedure is completed in your dentist's office after an anesthetic is used to numb your mouth.
Your dentist will use a dental drill to remove all decayed pulp and material from the affected tooth. Then, an antibiotic medication is added to the cavity to reduce the risk of infection and pain before the composite resin is placed into the tooth.
Once the resin is in place, your dentist will shape and polish the material to restore the tooth in the most natural manner possible. Finally, a special light is used to harden the composite resin into place.
Composite Fillings Maintenance
After the procedure, you can resume normal activities. However, you may experience some slight sensitivity and discomfort as the anesthetic medication wears off.
The lifespan of your composite filling will depend on a few factors including your current health, your diet, and your oral hygiene routine. On average, though, composite fillings last between 5 and 7 years. Although amalgam fillings do tend to have a longer lifespan, composite fillings appear more natural. Also, the better you care for your mouth, teeth, and gums, the longer the fillings will last.
Reduce your consumption of sugary foods, which will help protect your teeth from further cavities, decay, and gum disease. Also, continue brushing and flossing your teeth as recommended. Even though your cavity is now filled, you should also schedule routine checkups and cleanings with your dentist. Proper brushing, flossing, and regular cleanings by your dentist will reduce the amount of food residue, plaque, and bacteria on your teeth and gums, which will protect your oral health.
Composite fillings are a great option for anyone who needs to restore a decaying or damaged tooth in a natural and efficient manner. This guide will help you understand the benefits, installation, and maintenance involved with composite dental fillings.