Composite Fillings: Everything You Need to Know

Your dental health is important as it keeps your teeth healthy. However, when it’s compromised you can have plaque buildup which causes bacteria to fester, thereby attacking the enamel. Additionally, eating acidic teeth can attack the enamel creating cracks and holes. Sometimes these holes are not painful, but, more often than not, the holes can cause dental decay. When you have minor dental decay, our dentist in Austin, TX will use the composite filling to eliminate it as well as prevent it from spreading.

What Are Composite Fillings Made of?

Composite fillings are commonly used because of their tooth-colored appearance. These filings are comprised of quartz and glass fibers combined with resin. The result of this mixture is a tooth-colored filling. Composite offers the perfect alternative to amalgam fillings because they have no metal in them.

When Are Composite Fillings Used?

Our dentist in Austin, TX can use composite fillings for various reasons such as:

  • To eliminate and prevent the spread of decay. Poor dental hygiene causes bacteria to grow which further increases the risk of decay. If untreated, the bacteria can spread and weaken your teeth. In severe cases, the dentist will be forced to extract the teeth. The composite fillings can help prevent this. The doctor can also use them to cover the teeth after a root canal treatment.
  • Build worn out teeth due to grinding and clenching. Constant bruxism can cause enamel erosion which further causes cracks and holes
  • To hide severe stains and discoloration
  • The composite fillings can change the shape and size of the teeth

How are the Composite Fillings Applied?

Your dental appointment will last for about an hour. After the assessment, the dentist will discuss the procedure and what it involves. Local anesthesia may or may not be used depending on the size of the filling.

To start, the dentist will clean off the decay. An acid solution is then applied to eat away the affected area and remove bacteria and prepare it for the composite filling. A conditioning layer is also applied to act as an undercoat. It increases the strength of the composite sticking to the tooth.

Using a laser blue light, the dentist will apply the composite layers. Finally, your teeth will be polished to make them shiny and blend the filling.

Composite vs Amalgam Fillings

Composite fillings are free of metal and are used as an alternative to silver amalgam. Dentist prefers composite filling over amalgam because of the risk of mercury content which is thought to be toxic. Although no conclusive studies are available to indicate that amalgam contains mercury, it is better to avoid them because of the ambiguity in the matter. Furthermore, composite fillings are less conspicuous compared to the rest of the fillings materials.

How Long Do the Composite Fillings Last?

Composite fillings can last between five and seven years, but with proper care, they can last for longer. The good news is, even when they come off, the dentist can fix them easily.

Are There Risks Involved?

You may have slight discomfort and pain after the procedure. You might also experience:

  • Tooth sensitivity. It develops soon after the fillings are fixed, but will last after a few days.
  • The composite filling can wear down because of constant chewing, clenching, grinding.
  • Infection may develop if the fillings break and crack. These tiny spaces can create an environment for bacteria to grow

How to Care for Your Composite Filling

Although there are no special instructions for composite fillings, you still need to take care of them to enhance their durability.

  • Don’t eat or drink hot beverages to prevent gum irritation
  • Avoid smoking
  • Don’t forget to use toothpaste and mouth rinse
  • Come for your regular dental checkups

Composite fillings are durable. However, they are prone to staining. It is important to avoid any foods and coffee that can discolor and stain your teeth.

If you have dental decay and are looking for composite filling in Austin, TX, don’t hesitate to contact our dentist for an assessment.

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