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What Is A Composite Filling?

Mirror showing composite filling

The experience of having a cavity can be uncomfortable and embarrassing in equal measure. First, there’s the pain and sensitivity of having your tooth’s inner core exposed. Combine this with the social stigma associated with poor oral hygiene, or the perception of the same, and no one wants to admit they’ve had one. Fillings are a common remedy for cavities, but can also be the perfect solution for teeth impacted by cracked or damaged teeth, regardless of the cause.

The Two Types Of Fillings

Speaking broadly, there are two different forms of fillings, each identified by the material that’s used to make them. For many years the go-to solution was metal amalgams, a blend of silver and other metals that were perfect for repairing damaged teeth. Unfortunately, they were easily visible to the observer due to their shiny metal appearance. This meant that many people avoided getting fillings even when they could benefit from them to avoid the metal-mouth look that came with them.

Composite fillings would spell an end to this stigma and to the aesthetic concerns surrounding getting a filling. This style of filling is made from a special blend of plastic, glass, and other materials that are designed to withstand the stresses they’ll undergo while retaining the appearance of a natural tooth. Today both styles are still in use, with amalgams primarily being used for teeth that aren’t easily visible to the casual observer.

What Should I Expect When Receiving A Dental Filling?

The procedure involved in getting a composite filling starts with eliminating the damaged portions of your tooth in preparation for placing the restoration. A local anesthetic is usually provided to the patient to eliminate any discomfort while this is completed. The most common tool used in this portion of the procedure is the dental drill.

Once the decayed material has been removed and the surfaces smoothed, the area will undergo a thorough cleaning to eliminate any residual plaque, tartar, or bacteria. Once prepared, the composite resin will be put in place in a series of progressive layers, each being cured using a special light that speeds hardening. Once completed, the resultant material is as durable as a natural human tooth, and look the same!

One concern about composite fillings is that they can become stained from exposure to tea, coffee, or other dark-colored foods or liquids. A special layer can be placed over them by your dentist to help prevent this staining, though regular oral hygiene is the most important part of this process.

If you’re ready to consider receiving a composite resin to address your oral health concerns, contact Dr. Marian Bradford in Aliso Viejo, CA. Premier Dental of South Orange County is a respected member of the area’s medical and dental health community and can provide you with exceptional restoration care. Under our treatment, you’ll leave with a beautifully restored tooth that is indistinguishable from your natural teeth. You’ll never have to concern yourself about sharing your smile with others again after receiving composite resin restorations!

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