Composite Dental Fillings FAQ
Q. What is a composite resin (white filling)?
A. Resin fillings match the shade of your natural teeth while providing the necessary level of protection. While many refer to a composite resin as a “white” filling, the actual shade may be more of a crème, if that is what is necessary to blend in. Composite resin fillings function in the same way amalgam ones do, so they are still effective for restoring teeth that have suffered from decay or fracture. However, they can blend in and become more discreet for other patients.
Q. What are the advantages of composite vs. amalgam fillings?
A. The biggest advantages of composite vs. amalgam fillings is that composite tooth-colored fillings do not stand out. If you have a cavity and need a filling, you can select a restoration that stands out when you smile or one that blends in. Patients do not have to worry about other people noticing the tooth-colored fillings. Another advantage is not having any mercury in the filling and decreasing the risk of other health risks. To learn more about this option, call 301-202-3499 and schedule an appointment with our Glenn Dale, MD dental office.
Q. How are composite fillings used?
A. In our dental office, we use composite fillings to restore tooth structure after removing the pieces of tooth that have decay. In other cases, we will use composite fillings to restore tooth damage. For example, if a tooth is chipped or loses some of the enamel, a filling may be the appropriate restoration.
Q. Can anyone get a filling?
A. No. At Mitchellville Family Dentistry, we place fillings on a frequent basis, but in order for this type of restoration to work, you need to have a certain amount of healthy tooth structure remaining. If you are missing too much of the tooth’s structure, a dental crown may be the better solution. In this case, a crown surrounds the tooth like a cap, providing a stronger and more protective restoration.
Q. What is the difference between tooth-colored or composite dental fillings?
A. Composite dental fillings are just one type of tooth-colored fillings available. While professionals can use the alternate types of tooth-colored fillings interchangeably, there is more than one way to receive a tooth-colored filling. Natural-looking fillings typically consist of resin, ceramic, plastic, or glass ionomer; the most common material being composite resin. While all materials are effective, glass ionomer lasts the least amount of time since the material is more fragile.
Q. How long do resin fillings last?
A. There is no set expiration date, but we warn patients that fillings can deteriorate and wear down just like normal teeth. This makes it important to practice good oral hygiene and to brush with a soft or electronic toothbrush while avoiding biting down on anything inedible like a pencil.
Q. Are there any special care instructions for cosmetic fillings?
A. No, you need to care for your fillings just like you do your other teeth. You need to brush at least twice a day and floss on a daily basis. We recommend using fluoride toothpaste, since this can help to further strengthen your teeth and prevent further decay. In some cases, we may even recommend a fluoride treatment in our dental office. You should also be careful to avoid doing anything that could damage your teeth and wear a mouthguard if applicable. Keep in mind that a filling is there to restore your tooth structure both in appearance and in functionality. This means we are not trying to restrict your activities or even what you can eat. Instead, we place fillings to ensure your life is not interrupted and you can return to your normal daily activities quickly.
Q. When can I eat like normal?
A. If you need to have a filling placed, we will first need to remove the decayed portion of your tooth and complete a thorough cleaning. Next, we will place the composite resin filling material on your tooth and shape it before the hardening. The shape needs to be just right so your bite will fit together correctly. It can take a couple of days to get used to eating on the tooth. Thus, while it will not be particularly uncomfortable, you may have one day where you feel as though you are adjusting. For more specific information, call (301) 202-3499 to schedule an appointment.