Dental Restorations in Longmont
Dr. Amy Farmer uses composite restorations, or tooth-colored fillings, to fill cavities and prevent further tooth damage while preserving a beautiful, “metal-free” smile. These natural-looking fillings are your first line of defense when removing small amounts of decay, or when replacing mercury (or amalgam) restorations. The durable filling material used is a resin mixture made of plastic and glass particles that bonds to the dentin and enamel of the tooth. Essentially, these materials act as a kind of “super glue” in your teeth, strengthening and supporting your tooth structure with the added benefit of being cosmetically pleasing. The majority of patients prefer these fillings since they match their natural tooth color, making them undetectable when they smile.
When are Composite Restorations used?
- To fill cavities
- To replace amalgam tooth fillings
- To fix broken or chipped teeth
- To close gaps in teeth by modifying a tooth’s shape
What are the Advantages of Composite Restorations?
- Match tooth color for a natural-looking (“metal-free”) smile
- Chemically bond to the tooth, strengthening tooth structure
- Help to prevent tooth breakage
- Better insulate the tooth from hot and cold temperatures
What are the Disadvantages of Composite Restorations?
Composite restorations can come with some disadvantages compared to silver fillings. Some patients that receive composite restorations may experience some sensitivity after placement. Additionally, since these restorations are created to match the color of your teeth, it is possible for the shade to change if you drink coffee or tea. However, staining can be prevented with the use of a plastic coating that protects the color of the composite.
Composite Restorations vs. Amalgam Fillings
The biggest advantage of composite restorations is that they aren’t noticeable when placed in the mouth, as (unlike amalgam) they match the color and material of natural teeth. Unlike composite restorations, amalgam (or “silver”) fillings are made from a mixture of mercury, silver, tin and copper. While amalgam restorations were often used in the past to fill cavities, composite restorations are increasingly used because they have been proven more resistant to wear. This occurs as a result of the composite restoration chemically bonding to the tooth, fortifying it against further decay and breakage. This bonding process also requires the placement of less material, and therefore a smaller filling, than when amalgam fillings are used.
Composite Restoration Placement
Dr. Farmer begins this process by numbing the area with a local anesthetic. The tooth and the area surrounding it are then cleaned of any bacteria. A color shade guide is used to match the composite restoration to the tooth being filled. A gel is applied to the tooth topically which is used to clean the tooth and prepare it for the bonding agent. The liquid bonding agent is then applied to the tooth using a brush or applicator, and cured to the tooth using a special light. The composite material, a putty-like material that has been color-matched to the tooth, is then applied in thin layers on the tooth and shaped to match the tooth structure. Finally, the composite is bonded to the tooth using the special curing light. Dr. Farmer will perform a “bite check” to check that your bite is aligned correctly with the addition of the filling. Once the numbing sensation has worn off, the tooth is ready to use immediately.
More Durable Fillings with the SonicFill™ 2 Composite Delivery System
At Crossroads Dental, Dr. Farmer uses the latest and most reliable technology in composite restoration: the innovative SonicFill 2 composite delivery system by Kerr. This system uses sonic energy delivered through a hand piece to fill cavities with high-quality, strong resin. This process makes it easy for the doctor to sculpt and carve the resin, which then cures and provides superior strength. And unlike other resins, which are placed in multiple layers, the SonicFill 2 system requires only one, durable layer to fill the tooth cavity, preventing voids or gaps from forming and causing the tooth to weaken.
Composite Restorations FAQs
How Long Will My Composite Restorations Last?
Composite restorations were created to be durable while also giving the patient a natural look. On average these restorations can last around 7-10 years. However, the lifespan can vary depending on how you care for them over time.
Will My Insurance Cover the Costs?
Composite restorations are generally more expensive than traditional silver fillings. Some insurance companies may cover the cost of the traditional filling, and have the patient pay for the difference between that cost and the cost of the composite restoration. For specific information, we suggest contacting your insurance provider to see what your dental insurance plan will pay for.
How Do I Take Care of My Composite Restorations?
Composite restorations are generally easy to take care of if you have established good dental hygiene practices. It is important to brush and floss your teeth daily, and stay up to date with your regular dental check-ups. It also is wise to avoid chewing on hard foods as just like teeth, composite restorations can break under extreme forces.
Are Composite Restorations Safe?
Composite restorations are created using a plastic material that, unlike amalgam fillings, does not contain mercury. Due to the lack of mercury, some dental experts consider composite restorations to be safer than their metal alternatives. Dr. Amy Farmer would be happy to answer any additional questions you may have regarding the safety of composite restorations.
Schedule Your Dental Exam Today
Is it time for your regular dental exam? Or are you experiencing tooth pain and suspect that you might have a cavity? Don’t let your pain get worse before you get checked. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Amy Farmer today by calling our office at Crossroads Dental of Longmont at (303) 776-1480.