If it has been a while since you had to get a filling to correct a cavity you may be surprised to discover that the entire process is different. Instead of using the unsightly and potentially toxic amalgam material to fill cavities, dentists now use composite resin. Learn more about this type of filling material and discover why dentists now prefer to fill cavities with composite resin instead of amalgam.
What is Composite Resin?
Composite resin is an extremely strong, yet flexible material that is made up of a combination of non-toxic plastic and tiny glass beads. Composite resin can be used to fill cavities in both the front and back teeth.
Why is Composite Resin a Popular Material for Filling Cavities?
Dentists started using composite resin for fillings in the 1960s, but it wasn’t until the late 1990s and early 2000s that they started using as the material of choice for fillings. There are a number of reasons why dentists decided to use composite resin instead of amalgam for fillings. Those reasons include:
- Fewer potential health problems – many people are concerned that amalgam may be so toxic that it causes people to experience numerous health problems ranging from cancers to autoimmune diseases. Composite resin is a safer option as the material is non-toxic.
- Easier installation process – composite resin fillings can easily be placed in a matter of minutes
- More of the natural tooth is saved – the flexible nature of composite resin allows dentists to easily place it on the teeth without having to drill or shave down a patient’s natural teeth. When amalgam is used, a lot of a person’s natural tooth needs to be removed in order to make room for the filling
- Easy to fix when problems arise – composite resin fillings can easily be corrected without having to remove the entire filling from the tooth
- Fewer post-procedure instructions – there are very few, if any, post-procedure instructions that patients need to follow when a composite resin filling is placed
- Cost effective filling option – composite resin fillings are extremely affordable which allows patients to get much needed dental care regardless of their budget or financial situation
- Less tooth sensitivity
People Prefer Composite Resin Fillings Because They are Less Noticeable
People prefer having composite resin used for cavities because they are less noticeable than amalgam fillings. Amalgam fillings often appeared as a dark silvery material which was extremely noticeable whether it was used for the front teeth or the back. That doesn’t happen with composite resin.
Composite resin is colored to match your natural teeth. In fact, when your dentist is making the composite resin material, he or she can choose from several different color options so the material matches your natural tooth color. The ability to have a filling that matches your natural tooth color allows people to fix their cavities without having to worry that they will have an unsightly filling.
Taking a Closer Look at the Process Used by Dentists for Composite Resin
Placing a composite resin filling is a relatively straightforward process that dentists do dozens of times a day. The following is a look at what your dentist will do when placing a composite resin filling:
- Use specialized dental tools to keep the tooth dry and to suck up any additional saliva your mouth may create
- Use an air abrasion or drill to carefully and painlessly remove any part of the tooth that is damaged by decay
- Layer the composite resin material over the newly formed hole/opening in the tooth
- Hold a special light to the composite resin material so it can quickly harden
- Use a small file to remove any sharp edges or to shape the material so it looks like your natural tooth
Have a cavity and need it filled? Call Hancock Village Dental today to schedule an appointment for a routine examination. Our dentist will assess your case and provide you with treatment recommendations that will help improve your oral health.