Think your tooth may be decayed, and that you have a cavity? Wondering if you can replace your old metal fillings with a newer, composite material? You may be wondering if there is any benefit of having a composite filling placed, compared to an older mercury-amalgam filling. If so, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll discuss a few of the most surprising benefits of composite tooth fillings.
- Composites Bond More Closely To The Teeth
Dental composites are usually made out of a special type of dental resin, as well as crushed glass, which helps give it more structure and strength. It’s highly durable, and has a unique ability to form a very close bond to the rest of your teeth. This increases the strength of your tooth.
In addition, it means that composite fillings may be used in situations where a larger mercury-amalgam filling would not be appropriate, because it would weaken the structure of the tooth. This is not a concern with composites, due to the tight bond the material forms with the remaining enamel.
- Less Tooth Material Must Be Removed
Due to the fact that composites bond very tightly to the teeth, less tooth enamel must be removed before the filling can be placed. When a mercury-amalgam filling is placed, more enamel must typically be removed, which can weaken the structure of the tooth.
On the other hand, a composite only requires the damaged enamel to be removed, which helps preserve your natural tooth structure. Not only that, it means that there is less drilling involved, which helps speed up the procedure and ensures that you’re comfortable throughout the process.
Composite Fillings Match Your Existing Enamel
Some patients choose to have their mercury-amalgam fillings removed and replaced with composite fillings, because this type of filling looks much more natural. Mercury-amalgam is a very durable and reliable filling compound, but it is gray in color, and can make your smile look discolored when used for large fillings.
Composite fillings, though, can be made to match your existing enamel color perfectly. Whether you’re having a new filling placed, or looking to replace an older filling, your new composite will blend in with your teeth, helping you feel better about your smile.
No Risk Of Increased Sensitivity
While this is relatively rare, some patients report that metal fillings contribute to increased tooth sensitivity. Given that mercury-amalgam is a very highly conductive material – meaning it’s sensitive to heat and cold fluctuations – this does make logical sense. Things like breathing in very cold air, or drinking a hot or cold drink could cause the metal to contract or expand, and this may result in sensitivity.
Composite fillings are made out of a very low-conductivity material. This means that it helps insulate the tooth, and does not respond quickly to changes in temperature. In turn, this means fewer issues for patients who may have very sensitive teeth, or who are currently experiencing issues with their mercury-amalgam fillings.
- Composites Can Be Used To Restore The Appearance Of Your Teeth
Dental composites aren’t just used for fillings. You can also have your dentist repair cosmetic issues to your teeth using a dental composite – often in the same appointment in which you have a filling placed!
Composites can be used to rebuild chipped and slightly-damaged teeth, and improve their appearance. This is called “dental bonding,” and, like having a composite tooth filling placed, it’s minimally-invasive, and helps restore your smile quickly and without any kind of dental surgery. If you’re having a composite filling placed, ask your dentist about dental bonding, and if it’s right for you.
Investing In Composite Fillings Is Worth Every Penny!
The only real drawback of composite fillings is that, in most cases, they’re a bit more expensive than mercury-amalgam fillings. Despite this, though, they’re worth the investment for all of the reasons above – and many more.