Composite fillings use a white or tooth-colored composite to remove and repair tooth decay, cracks, and fractures in your teeth. Although silver amalgam fillings and composite fillings were both the most commonly used fillings, composite fillings are steadily becoming more popular as people opt for a discreet solution to filling their cavities.
Did You Know?
Composite fillings have been around since the 60s, however at that time composite material would wear down and cause more decay. Since then, composite material has evolved and become stronger, as well as more durable.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Am I a candidate for a composite filling?
You may be a candidate for a composite filling if you have areas of tooth decay or damage in need of removal and repair. Additionally, you may also be an ideal candidate for composite fillings if you are aware that you have allergies to the metals used in amalgam fillings or would like to avoid metal fillings because of their metallic appearance. To find out if you are, in fact, a candidate for composite fillings, schedule a consultation with Dr. Shadi Heidarian of Heritage Park Dental today!
What is the difference between composite fillings and amalgam fillings?
The main difference between composite fillings and amalgam fillings is, of course, the material they are made from. Composite fillings are made from a plastic resin mixed with glass, porcelain, or quartz, while amalgam fillings are made from liquid mercury with powdered silver, tin, and copper.
Because they are made from different materials, they have different pros and cons. The pros of composite fillings are that they provide a cosmetic filling option that blends with the natural tooth structure and they have an easy bonding application. However, they do not last as long as amalgam fillings and take longer to place.
The pros of amalgam fillings is they are cheaper, durable, and longer lasting than composite fillings. However, their cons are that they are highly noticeable, may corrode over time, and some people may develop allergies to the metals they are made from.
What can I expect when having a composite filling placed at Heritage Park Dental?
When having a composite filling placed at Heritage Park Dental, you can expect the filling to be placed during a single dental appointment. Dr. Heidarian will begin by properly anesthetizing your mouth so that your tooth is numb during the procedure. Then, the decayed tissue will be carefully removed with a dental drill and the remaining space will be thoroughly cleaned. If the decay was deep enough to almost reach the nerve, an additional medication will be placed. Finally, the composite will be applied in layers that are hardened with a special curing light. Each layer must remain dry and be completely hardened before applying the next layer. Finally, the composite filling will be shaped and polished so that it blends with the surrounding teeth. The entire procedure generally takes about one hour from start to finish, however it may be longer if the decay is severe.
What can I expect after having a composite filling placed at Heritage Park Dental?
After your composite filling is placed at Heritage Park Dental, Dr. Heidarian will provide you will special care instructions. It is important that you follow these care instructions to maintain your composite filling. In the days directly following your procedure, you may experience some minor tooth sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures, as well as sugar. This is a normal occurrence and will likely fade once your tooth adapts to the new filling.
Because the composite filling is completely hardened during your procedure, you will be able to eat and drink as soon as the feeling returns to your mouth. You will have no dietary restrictions and you can resume all your usual activities.
How do I care for my composite filling?
You will care for your composite filling like you would your natural teeth. This means brushing twice a day for two minutes using a fluoridated toothpaste, flossing once a day, and visiting Heritage Park Dental twice a year for your dental checkup and professional teeth cleaning. Additionally, to prevent damaging your composite filling, you will want to avoid destructive behaviors like nail biting, ice chewing, and using your teeth to open packages.
How long will my composite filling last?
Composite fillings last about 5-7 years, sometimes longer if they are well taken care of. How long your composite filling lasts generally depends on where in the mouth it is located, its size, and your habits. Practicing good dental habits and avoid destructive behaviors are the key to keeping your composite filling in good shape.
However, because composite fillings are not a permanent solution, they will eventually need to be replaced or repaired no matter how well you take care of them. An indication that it is time to have your composite filling replaced is sudden tooth pain or tooth sensitivity. Dr. Heidarian may also notice the borders of your filling are coming loose during one of your regular dental checkups.
Depending on the extent of wear and the tooth that is affected, one of two things may be done. One option is to repair the filling by placing additional layers of composite resin. This is usually the practice when the affected tooth is a molar. The other option is to replace the composite filling completely by removing the old one and placing a new one.
How much do composite fillings cost?
Composite fillings are relatively affordable and cost approximately $135-$240 per filling. This cost can further be offset if you have dental insurance. Most dental insurance companies offer coverage levels for restorative dental care, however they may only offer partial coverage for composite fillings because they can be considered cosmetic. Heritage Park Dental will help you work with your insurance company to determine your level of coverage.
To enhance your smile with cosmetic dental services, schedule a consultation with Dr. Shadi Heidarian of Heritage Park Dental today! Heritage Park Dental serves Palo Alto and the surrounding communities.