What are Composite Fillings?
If you have a cavity and are worried about metal fillings because of tooth sensitivity or looks, you will be happy to know that composite fillings are more common and are used in Dr. Morrow’s dental office in Yonkers, New York.
Composite fillings vs amalgam (silver) fillings
Dr. Ira S. Morrow has a few options for filling material in your cavity. He will choose which material to use based on how strong the filling needs to be and on how bad the decay is in the tooth.
Two common materials that have been used for years are gold and amalgam. Both of these are durable and strong, but they can have some drawbacks. Gold fillings can be expensive, and they can require more than one trip to the dentist to have them placed. Amalgams only require one visit to the dentist. The cost of amalgam fillings are less, but many people are concerned that health problems may result from the elementary mercury that is used to make them.
Amalgam fillings also conduct heat and cold, which means that if you have naturally sensitive teeth (or even if you don’t), it can be painful to enjoy your favorite foods and drinks.
Another large drawback to using gold and amalgam is that they are very obvious! They are easily noticeable when someone with these fillings opens their mouth.
Composite fillings, which are made of a tooth-colored plastic and glass mixture, have none of these drawbacks. They look nice are perfect to use when the tooth with the cavity can be seen. They are very durable. You also don’t have to worry about tooth sensitivity with composite fillings, because the composite material doesn’t conduct heat and cold like metal fillings do. Another advantage is that you don’t have to worry about discoloration of the gum tissue around the tooth with the filling in it, which often happens with amalgam fillings.
What is the procedure for composite fillings?
Dr. Morrow will want to give you a thorough oral exam. If he finds extensive tooth decay beneath the enamel layer and into the tooth, he will remove the decay and clean the tooth. (Although he may numb the area with anesthesia for this step, typically patients don’t need anesthesia when they are having composite fillings placed.)
Then, when the decay has been removed and the tooth is clean, he will apply a primer, which is a weak acid. This primer opens pores in the teeth. A bonding agent is then applied to the tooth, which goes into the open pores. The bonding agent is then cured, which prepares it to adhere properly to the composite filling.
Dr. Morrow will make the composite filling, blending the right shades together until the color perfectly matches your tooth. When it’s ready, he will place the composite filling material into the tooth. He will shape it so that it fits into your tooth, and then he will use a strong curing light to harden the material. Once it has hardened, he will check your bite, to make sure that your teeth fit together properly when you bite down. He will check to make sure that you can easily insert floss in the space between your teeth. If the filling interferes with your bite or with your ability to floss, he will smooth and polish your new filling until the fit is perfect.
Will my composite require any special care?
Although composite fillings are known for causing less sensitivity than metal fillings, your tooth may be sensitive after you receive your filling. However, this tooth sensitivity is only temporary.
You should avoid foods and drinks that stain teeth because they will stain your composite filling as well. These foods and drinks include tea, coffee and dark foods, such as blueberries. If you are especially concerned about staining, Dr. Morrow can apply a clear plastic coating over the tooth that can help prevent any color change.
Other than concerns about staining, though, composite fillings are very easy to take care of. Simply brush, floss, and visit your dentist for regular exams as you usually would. Composite fillings are an excellent option when you need a cavity filled. You don’t have that annoying jolt of sensitivity that you can get with metal fillings. And, composite fillings look very natural. Friends and family won’t even know you have them. This can be especially important if you’ve already spent a lot of money to get the perfect smile and don’t want it ruined with an ugly metal filling! Contact our office in Yonkers to find out more or inquire about composite filling costs.
If you have a cavity that needs filling, give Dr. Morrow a call at (914) 476-4040. Make an appointment to visit our Yonkers, Westchester County, NY office today!