In decades past, the only choice people had when they needed a cavity filled was for the dentist to use silver amalgam filling material. As a dental patient today, you are fortunate to have the option to receive a composite filling instead. That is because many people expressed concerns about the potential dangers of having metal fillings present for the rest of their life. Others felt that traditional metal fillings were unattractive and wanted a better option. If you are just hearing about this dental treatment, you may be asking yourself, “What is a composite filling?”
A composite filling, also called tooth-colored, is one that matches the shade of your teeth as closely as possible. Although most people receive a composite filling when they have a new cavity, you may also request that we replace your current metal fillings. After switching to less-obvious filling material, many patients are surprised to discover just how much their old fillings held them back socially. Whereas before they were hesitant to smile, now they can’t wait to show off their pearly whites.
The process of receiving a composite filling involves your dentist cleaning the tooth, applying the material, and using a curing light to force it to harden. It typically takes just one appointment for your dentist to apply your tooth-colored filling.
Composite Filling Advantages
Although both types of fillings preserve your tooth and protect it from further infection, composite fillings offer many advantages over metal ones. These include:
- Metal fillings can turn black over time, making them even more noticeable.
- You don’t have to worry about the possibility of leaks, chips, or infections that are remotely possible with metal fillings.
- The silicon dioxide we use in preparing your composite filling strengthens and stabilizes your tooth.
- You may experience sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures with traditional fillings, but this won’t happen with composite ones.
- Metal fillings sometimes take several hours to harden whereas composite fillings are complete within minutes.
Schedule a Consultation to Learn More
Whether you want to replace existing fillings or explore your options to fill new cavities, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with your Smiles of La Mesa dentist. He or she will answer your questions as well as show you photos of other patients with composite fillings. This helps you visualize how they would look on you.