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5 Facts About Composite Fillings

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Dental fillings are a common dental treatment for restoring decayed areas of the tooth. The two most commonly used dental materials for dental fillings are dental amalgam and composite resin. Recently, however, composite fillings have become more and more popular among dental patients. 

There are a variety of reasons why composite fillings are becoming used more often than amalgam fillings. Here are five facts about composite fillings that can speak to their popularity. 

Composite resin in a tube

Fact #1: They Are Metal-Free

Composite fillings are made from composite resin, which contains absolutely no metal. This makes them ideal for dental patients will metal allergies, or for those who wish to avoid metal dental fillings. Their lack of metal also prevents the surrounding tooth structure from becoming discolored as a result of corrosion. Since metal requires the removal of more tooth structure to be placed, composite fillings also help to preserve natural tooth structure. 

Fact #2: They Are Highly Aesthetic

In addition to not containing metal, composite resin is also able to be customized to match the patient’s natural teeth. This means that both the color and the shape of the dental filling will be manipulated so that the end result is hardly noticeable. Furthermore, composite resin does not corrode, so the color of the teeth will not change over time. 

Fact #3: They Can Be Used in Different Ways

Composite fillings have different applications. The first is to act as a filling material for dental cavities. In addition to acting as a filling, the composite resin can also be used to fill gaps between teeth, restore worn enamel, fix cracked or chipped teeth, and build up the natural tooth structure. 

Diagram showing the steps of a dental filling

Fact #4: They Can Be Placed in a Single Appointment

Composite fillings are considered to be a direct dental restoration. This means that the entire restoration can be completed inside the patient’s mouth without the need for a dental laboratory. Because of this, a composite filling can be placed in a single dental appointment. To place a composite filling, the decayed tissue will be removed and the remaining cavity will be cleaned and shaped. Then, the composite resin will be applied in layers. Each layer will be hardened with a special curing light and the final layer will be shaped and polished. Dental anesthetics are often used to keep the patient comfortable during the procedure. 

Fact #5: They Are Long-Lasting

If well taken care of, composite fillings can last up to about 10 years. To preserve a composite filling, simply practice good oral hygiene habits and avoid detrimental behaviors that place additional stress on the teeth. 

As you can see, composite fillings can offer a variety of benefits to dental patients affected by tooth decay. They are visually appealing, effective, easy to place, and long lasting. These are only a few of the many reasons composite fillings are so popular. For more information, see Composite Fillings”.

Dr. Deborah Tabb graduated in the upper 5% of her class, from the Medical College of Virginia in 1982, where she was honored to receive advanced awards for outstanding performance in endodontics, periodontics, and oral surgery. These prestigious awards validated her clinical talent, which she is recognized for today. She is a member of the American Dental Association, the Southern Maryland Dental Society, the Academy of General Dentistry and the Potomac Valley Dental Study Club.

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