Traditional fillings have been metallic in color. Advances in dentistry now offer fillings made of ceramic and plastic compounds that mirror the color of your teeth. Because they blend well with the color of your teeth, they are most often used to fill cavities in the front of your mouth.
One advantage of composite fillings is that they don’t require as much area of the tooth being drilled as traditional fillings do. This is because composite materials give the filling a much better grip on the inside of the tooth. Like traditional fillings, composite fillings require a single visit to put in place. However, it may take a little longer as the tooth must be completely dry and free of saliva before a composite filling is installed.
Filling cavities with composite material differs from traditional fillings. Once the tooth is completely dry an adhesive is applied inside the tooth. Onto the adhesive is placed several layers of composite material. Once the tooth is filled a chemical that acts as a hardening agent is applied and the tooth exposed to a special light for about a minute at which point it is set and dried.
Some people notice a sensitivity to hot and cold immediately following this procedure. This is a normal reaction and should not last more than a week or so. If the cavity is particularly large, it may be difficult to chew solid or hard food. If this is the case, your dentist may recommend you use traditional materials to fill the cavity.
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Composite fillings are slightly more expensive. The cosmetic advantages, especially if the cavity is in the front teeth, are well worth the price.
Composite fillings are subject to the same wear and tear as traditional materials are. You may find that, in time, the material pulls away from the tooth. If this happens, call your dentist as bacteria may get into the gap and further erode the tooth.
Composite fillings are best maintained by following traditional ways of maintaining oral health. Brush and floss your teeth as normal. Make sure you visit your dentist twice a year. With proper care your composite fillings should last a lifetime without you ever knowing they are there.