What You Need To Know About Composite Fillings

composite fillings

Dental fillings are made from two different types of materials, amalgam and composite fillings. Composite fillings are made from ceramic and plastic compounds while amalgam fillings are made from a mixture of metals including mercury. Each type has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. 

What are composite fillings made of?

Composite fillings, also known as white fillings, are made from a resin that contains ceramic and plastic compounds. This is why they are able to be matched to the natural color of your smile, allowing them to blend into your natural tooth surface. 

This kind of fillings has the advantage of being practically invisible. They are also easily adhered to the tooth and bond to the tooth surface. This allows your dentist to preserve the maximum amount of tooth because they do not have to remove as much in order to make room for the filling. Because the resin is shaped easily to match your teeth, there is much less drilling required. 

Please note that the procedure may take a little bit longer than getting amalgam fillings. Also, because composite fillings do not contain mercury they do not have the same health risks that are associated with the use of amalgam fillings. Some people can even experience less post-treatment discomfort and sensitivity from composite fillings.

How are they different from amalgam fillings?

Composite fillings primarily differ from amalgam fillings in their composition. Amalgam fillings are often called “silver fillings” This kind of fillings are made from a mixture of mercury, silver, tin, and copper. The mercury binds the other metals together and makes up around 50% of the amalgam filling. This combination makes them strong and durable.

When the mercury is combined with the other metals it is rendered safe and stable. Amalgam fillings have been around since the late 19th century. They have over a hundred years on their track record. 

Unlike composite fillings, they are very noticeable and they can discolor teeth as they do not allow light to pass through the tooth naturally. Some people find that they are sensitive to the metals that are used in amalgam and some experience greater sensitivity to the filling.

Do composite fillings last a long time?

No matter what kind of filling that is chosen, they always have a finite lifespan before they start to fail. This means that you should see your dentist as soon as you detect that one of the fillings begins to fail. 

However, composite fillings are good for seven to ten years in most healthy patients. And new data has begun to indicate that fillings made from newer materials are just about as durable as amalgam fillings. They have the potential to last up to 12 years if properly maintained.

Are composite fillings strong?

While composite fillings sometimes have a reputation that they are weaker than amalgam fillings, the new developments in materials and techniques used in the fillings have made them much stronger than in the past. 

This means that more and more people are choosing composite fillings over silver fillings in order to preserve their natural smile.

What is the cost of getting a composite filling?

Generally, a composite filling will cost between $300 to $600 per tooth. But, many health insurances cover the cost of the procedure or at least most fo the cost of bonding. Insurance companies often cover the filling when it is done for structural reasons or to fill a cavity. 

A composite filling simply requires a single visit to the dentist. This procedure is sometimes called dental bonding, as the resin is bonded directly onto the tooth surface, before being sculpted and shaped. This kind of composite bonding is ideal for small scale dental work, and for smaller cavities.

What is the process of getting a composite filling?

Getting a composite filling generally starts with the dentist bathing the surface of the tooth in phosphoric acid. This acid is painless and provides a surface for the composite to be bonded to. Next the resin, which has a consistency of putty, is placed on the tooth surface before being sculped and shaped. 

In the last step, a special light is used to harden the resin and to set the filling. It is then polished and buffed for a smooth finish. This process generally takes between 30 to 60 minutes per each tooth. It’s often the case that anesthesia is unnecessary unless the bonding is used to fill a decayed tooth. When compared to other forms of tooth repair, such as veneers or crowns, composite fillings require the least amount of enamel to be removed.

If you are interested in getting composite fillings.  are a good option for you and you live in La Verne, California give La Verne Dental and Implant Center a call at 909-586-1155 to arrange your consultation today.