Choose Composite Fillings for Aesthetics, Strength, and Safety

Composite fillings fix cavities

Cavities are common, but they need to be treated.

“You have a cavity.” You’ve probably heard these words from your dentist before. While cavities are largely preventable with good home care, a nutritious diet, and preventive dental appointments, most of us will have one or two at some point in our lives.

A combination of factors cause cavities. Plaque, which is a mixture of food, bacteria, and saliva, builds up on our teeth over time. If a person’s oral hygiene is poor and they don’t regularly remove that plaque, it can go on to become hardened tartar (calculus). Calculus is nearly impossible to remove with brushing and gives bacteria an excellent hiding place. 

Those bacteria then excrete acids, which erode enamel and form a hole in the tooth that we know as a cavity. And to make matters worse, cavities don’t heal; the enamel and dentin do not repair themselves. The only thing that can stop tooth decay in its tracks is to remove the decayed material and fill the hole with another substance. If you are experiencing any signs of a cavity, such as a toothache, it’s really important to reach out to your dentist in New Bern to get treatment right away. 

A Peek Into the History of Dental Fillings

One of the most fascinating things about dentistry is, perhaps, its history. In 2019, the remains of a young man were found in a cave in Trieste, Italy, and it was evident he’d had some dental work done. It turns out, they had used beeswax to restore his tooth. Researchers believe this remedy dates back 6,500 years.

In 1819, a chemist named Dr. Bell invented amalgam fillings with a mixture of mercury, copper, tin, and silver. Mercury-based amalgam fillings have been commonly used for about 150 years now, while composite fillings are a more modern innovation. Composite resin has only been used to fill cavities in the last few decades and is increasingly becoming the standard in many dental practices.

We don’t use beeswax anymore for restorations, but don’t you think it’s nice to know what’s being put into your mouth and why? 

How does composite resin work?

A composite is a material that is made up of two substances that, when combined, have a dual property. For composite dental filling material, a resin-based mix is combined with a filler-like silica. This filler gives the resin its translucent property and strength. 

After the decayed material is cleaned out, your dentist will fill the cavity with the composite filling. After the filling is done, the dentist will use a special light to harden and cure the filling. This takes just a few seconds, while other materials’ curing process can take days. 

White fillings are aesthetically pleasing.

There’s a reason composite fillings are commonly called “tooth-colored fillings.” They look like the teeth you already have! 

If you want your teeth to look as much like your natural teeth as possible, composite is the way to go. The composite resin material beautifully matches the color of your natural teeth. It blends right in, making your smile as good as new. You can laugh and smile freely without worrying about a visible metal filling showing. 

 Aside from looking nice, these fillings offer additional benefits. 

We like composite fillings for their strength and durability.

Composite fillings are strong. They have been proven to easily withstand the strong force that’s needed for chewing and biting. 

You may be curious about how long your composite filling will last. No filling is designed to last a lifetime. How you care for your teeth plays a big role in how well your filling will hold up. This study suggested composite fillings can last about seven years. However, if you take good care of your teeth, they can last longer. 

Amalgam fillings might generally last a few years longer than composite fillings, but damage to an amalgam filling cannot be repaired. Composite fillings are different. If there is any damage done, your dentist can easily repair it. 

Because of the chemical structure of composite resin, the substance bonds to tooth enamel. This bonding means there is a better chance of stopping the decay from spreading further into the tooth. 

Composite fillings are safe.

Composite fillings are completely metal free, making them safe for people with metal allergies or intolerances. They also require less drilling than amalgam fillings, so you’ll get to keep more of your natural tooth.

People who experience tooth sensitivity also report feeling less sensitivity after white (composite) fillings because the material protects them.

Dr. Oxley sticks with white fillings because of the overall benefits they present. Composite resin serves more than one purpose. It can also be used to repair normal wear and tear. 

If you are looking for a family dental practice in Eastern Carolina that’s dedicated to providing you with the best service there is, reach out to Oxley Comprehensive Dental