An Alternative to Silver Fillings
Traditionally, cavities were filled with an amalgam material. Still used today, amalgam is made up of a mixture of tin, silver, copper, and nickel suspended in mercury. Amalgam fillings are well known for their exceptional strength, but they do have a few disadvantages. For one, they are silver in color, and therefore not aesthetically pleasing. Amalgam fillings contain trace amounts of metal, which can cause an allergic reaction in some. The mercury in amalgam fillings is a major concern for many dental patients as well.
Composite resin or tooth-colored, fillings offer an alternative. The material used is made up of fine glass in a resin. Not only does the material mimic the color of your natural teeth, but it also mimics many of the other properties of your teeth, such as the wear rate and translucency. Composite resin fillings are durable and able to withstand normal chewing forces.
How Are Composite Resin Fillings Placed?
Composite resin fillings can be placed in one of two ways. The first method, or direct method, is fairly similar to the way amalgam fillings are placed. First, the decay is cleared away from the tooth. We use a special drill to do this. The tooth is then cleaned and dried. We apply an acidic gel to the cavity, which creates a rough texture. This will help the composite resin to bond with the tooth. The tooth is cleaned and dried a second time. We then place the composite resin into the cavity and dry it with a blue light. Finally, the material is smoothed and polished.
The second way in which composite resin fillings can be placed is known as an indirect method. After the decay is cleared from your tooth, a mold is then taken. This mold is used to create a custom filling in a lab. When the filling is ready, we cement it in place.
Benefits and Drawbacks to Composite Resin
There are several benefits to composite resin fillings:
Along with these benefits, composite resin does have a few disadvantages as well:
If you have a cavity, or even suspect a cavity, seeking dental treatment right away is important. Contact Kenneth G. Wallis DDS, Family, and Cosmetic Dentistry today at (408) 248-6777 to schedule your appointment!