Composite and Amalgam Fillings
Fillings are used to restore areas of your tooth destroyed by decay, or dental caries. When bacteria is left undisturbed on a tooth, it secretes acid that dissolves tooth enamel. Dentists use both amalgam (silver) and composite (tooth-colored) materials to replace the missing tooth structure and restore the form and function of the tooth.
Reasons for Fillings
What Does a Filling Involve?
First, Dr. Grote will explain the procedure and answer any questions you have before beginning. If necessary, he will numb the area requiring the filling. He will ensure you are as comfortable as possible at all times. Then Dr. Grote will thoroughly remove the decay and prepare the tooth for either the restoration. These days, he often uses tooth colored materials that mimic the appearance of natural teeth.
What Are Composite "Tooth Colored" Fillings?
Composite fillings are tooth-colored to blend in with the remaining natural part of the tooth. The term composite refers to the actual filling material, which is a mixture of glass or quartz filler in a resin medium.
Composite fillings provide good durability and resistance to fracture in small-to-mid size restorations that need to withstand moderate chewing pressure. In addition to being more aesthetically pleasing, composite fillings are "bonded" or attached with adhesive directly to the tooth surface. This allows for a more conservative repair than traditional fillings with their inability to bond to the tooth structure. Since traditional fillings do not bond to the tooth, amalgam is packed into the tooth, and may loosen over time. Amalgam fillings require that more tooth structure be removed to create a space that will hold the filling in place.
Composite fillings require that the tooth be kept clean and dry during the entire filling process, and they are subject to stain and discoloration over time. The life expectancy of a white filling can depend greatly on where it is in your mouth and how heavily your teeth come together when you bite.
Composite filling material is also commonly used to repair front teeth that have chipped or worn. Where possible, aesthetic bonding of composite material to front teeth is generally much less expensive than veneers or crowns. However, bonding typically does not last as long as veneers or crowns.
If your tooth is sensitive for a week or more it is important to call our office so we can examine the tooth and determine if additional treatment is needed.