Enjoy a More Natural Smile with Composite Dental Fillings
Tooth decay is one of the most common chronic health conditions. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent it, and in cases where decay is unavoidable, a dental filling is an affordable, natural-looking, and safe solution. Not only are our fillings at FM Dentistry & Orthodontics some of the most aesthetic restorations available today, but they are strong and long-lasting as well.
Dental Fillings—The Best Solution for Tooth Restoration
At FM Dentistry & Orthodontics, we rely on high-quality materials, latest technology, and advanced techniques to create restorations for our patients that last a lifetime. Our goal is to create results that are designed to be virtually undetectable. We use tooth-colored fillings as restorations when our patients have:
- Tooth decay
- Chipped teeth
- Cracked teeth
How do I know if I need a filling?
If you are experiencing discomfort in your teeth, you may be a good candidate for a filling. Teeth sensitivity is an effective indicator of decay or fracture. When you come in for an evaluation, Dr. Mohandes directs you to the appropriate dental treatment for your situation. We typically recommend fillings as the best solution for restoring teeth that have severe tooth decay, cracks, chips and cavities.
Cavity Prevention — What can I do to prevent the need for a filling?
The best way to fight cavities and maintain healthy gums and teeth is to keep up on your daily habit of proper oral hygiene. Here are 5 ways to ward off tooth decay and prevent cavities:
- Come in to our office for a comprehensive oral exam and regular cleanings.
- Brush after meals and use an antimicrobial mouthwash.
- Drink more water and cut back on sugary and acidic drinks.
- Develop the habit of flossing every night.
- Avoid smoking.
Dental Fillings—The Process
The procedure for placing a composite resin dental filling is a routine treatment that we do every day at FM Dentistry & Orthodontics. Here’s how it works:
- Dr. Mohandes isolates the tooth from saliva to keep it dry.
- Any dental decay is removed.
- An etchant and a bonding agent are applied, followed by the composite resin.
- A special light is used to harden each layer of composite resin material.
- After the tooth is filled, the composite resin is shaped to resemble a real tooth.
- Finally, the restoration is smoothed and polished to accommodate your bite.
What’s the difference between a filling and an inlay/onlay?
A filling does what it says it does—it is filling in a cavity, a hole that has been created by decay or trauma, essentially restoring normal tooth anatomy. When we create a filling from composite resin, we shade the white material so that it blends naturally with your surrounding tooth structure. The result is a restoration that is practically invisible.
Inlays and onlays are used when the damage or decay to a tooth requires more than a filling—but less than a crown. In other words, if your tooth does not have enough tooth structure for a filling but it is not so severely damaged that it warrants a crown, you may be an excellent candidate for an inlay or onlay.
Made of porcelain, an inlay is crafted at a dental lab by an expert ceramist and cemented into or onto the center of the tooth, inside the cusp tips of the tooth. An onlay covers the top chewing surface of the tooth. We use porcelain because it very closely mimics enamel and offers decades of strength and security.
What are composite resin fillings and restorations?
Composite resin fillings are the most common alternative to dental amalgam. They are sometimes called “tooth-colored” or “white” fillings because of their color. Composite resin fillings are made of a type of plastic (an acrylic resin) reinforced with powdered glass filler. Composite resin is often placed in layers to build up the final restoration, then cured with an “ultra-violet light”. This light energy speeds up a chemical reaction of the components causing the soft material to harden and bond to the tooth. This material is considered safe. The color (shade) of composite resins can be customized to closely match surrounding teeth. This plastic and glass mixture contains no metal and can be shaped to resemble a real tooth. It is usually hard to tell that a tooth has even been filled!
Composite resin fillings have several advantages. The “white” color is preferred by many patients due to its ability to blend in with surrounding teeth. It is also possible to make a more conservative preparations when using composite material, thus enabling the dentist to preserve more natural tooth structure.
- Benefits of Composite Resin Restorations
- Preferred white/natural-looking color
- Better for smaller fillings
- Preservation of more tooth structure
Since the resin used in tooth-colored restorations contains fluoride, it can help prevent decay. The resin wears like natural teeth and does not require placement at the gum line, another advantage that reinforces gum health.
What’s wrong with metal/amalgam fillings?
In addition to being more aesthetically pleasing, composite fillings are completely safe and non-toxic. However, some believe that none of these advantages ring true for metal fillings. Some research suggests that amalgam fillings—made with mercury, silver, tin, copper and other metals—may lead to health problems.
The American Dental Association Council on Scientific Affairs has concluded that both amalgam and composite materials are considered safe and effective for tooth restoration.
We are excited to be able to restore decayed teeth to their optimal appearance and function with fillings, inlays, and onlays. At FM Dentistry & Orthodontics, we use dental fillings to help adult and pediatric patients preserve their healthy, beautiful teeth and avoid additional damage.
How long do composite fillings last?
Composite dental fillings can last ten years or more with good oral hygiene.
Can I have my old fillings replaced with white fillings?
Yes. If you have older amalgam fillings and are not comfortable with the idea of keeping them, we can remove the old fillings and replace them with composite resin. This procedure requires special care and the appropriate tools, but the results are more attractive and safer
than metal amalgam fillings.
Does dental insurance cover white tooth fillings?
It depends on your coverage. Dental insurance typically covers the cost of an amalgam filling in full but may not cover the difference in price between an amalgam filling and composite resin fillings. However, this is changing. Please check with your dental insurance provider to confirm your coverage limits.
How is a composite filling placed?
The composite resin used for dental fillings is placed in thin layers. A UV light is used between each layer to harden the resin, building up the coverage.
How long does it take to get a composite dental filling?
Getting a composite filling can take up to an hour due to the multiple layers of resin that must be applied and cured.
Why should I get a white filling?
The main reason patients choose a composite resin filling is because they look better. Unlike visible amalgam fillings, the resin material can be precisely matched to the tooth’s color for a natural look. Also, there are many studies stating the amalgam fillings release Mercury in blood stream which is toxic, while the composite fillings don’t have this health hazard. Today’s composite filling materials are highly durable and can withstand your full bite force. The polymers and glass ceramics used in composite resins are wear-resistant and incredibly strong. Preparing your tooth for a white filling is a less invasive process than the preparation for an amalgam filling. Less tooth has to be removed, leaving a more significant portion of the tooth intact. The result is a tooth that will remain healthier and cavity-free than a tooth with a mercury amalgam filling.
Are composite fillings safe?
Yes. The materials used are considered safe by the American Dental Association, while there are many studies stating the amalgam fillings release Mercury in blood stream which is not safe.
What should I do if I lose a dental filling?
Although fillings can last for years, they do eventually wear out. If you lose a filling, please contact our office immediately so we can schedule an appointment as soon as possible. If you are in pain, let us know so we can recommend ways to minimize your discomfort. If you have
the filling, please bring it to your appointment. Until you can be seen, keep the area around the missing filling by gargling several times a day
with warm salt water to destroy bacteria. Dissolve ½ teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of warm water. Avoid chewing in the area and brush around the damaged tooth. You can also protect the site with a temporary filling material or dental wax. You can find these at your local
pharmacy or order them online.