What are composite resin fillings?
Most of us have had amalgam fillings (silver) or gold filling restorations. Some amalgam fillings were what we have called mercury fillings, as some amalgam fillings contained mercury. Metal fillings were effective, but very conspicuous and tended to blacken in color over time.
Composite resin dental fillings were created as an alternative to traditional metal dental fillings. Fillings colored to look like a natural tooth are known as Composite Resin Fillings, they are made of a plastic dental resin. Composite Resin Fillings are strong, durable, and make for a very natural looking smile. Many dental insurance plans cover their use.
Who is a candidate for composite resin fillings?
If you have a cavity in a tooth, broken fillings, mercury fillings, or amalgam fillings, this type of dental filling is well worth discussing with your dentist. Mercury fillings or amalgam fillings can easily be removed and replaced with far more attractive colored fillings. Composite resins may also be used to enhance the appearance of any tooth, which is a tooth bonding procedure. The composite resin will strengthen and enhance the natural tooth structure as it does with use as a dental filling. (You can read more about a related procedure, tooth bonding, above)
How are composite resin fillings accomplished?
Dr. Klein will give you a local anesthetic to numb the area. He will then prepare the decayed area of the tooth and remove the decayed portions. This is accomplished with traditional drills. With a composite filling, Dr. Klein will preserve more of the natural tooth as the composite resin can be bonded to the tooth in thin layers. If your tooth's decayed area is close to a nerve, a special liner will be used to protect the nerve. A special dental material is then used to open up the pores of your tooth's dentin and roughens up the surface of the exposed enamel. This achieves better and stronger bond. The bond resin is applied to stick the composite to your tooth. This material is made of the same dental resin as the composite however it is much more fluid. This layer is then hardened and cured with a very bright light. Composite resin fillings are applied in thin layers, and slowly built up to form the complete filling. A bright dental light will harden each layer before the next is applied.Once your filling is completed, Dr. Klein will use a special paper, articulating paper, to adjust the height of your dental filling and that your bite remains correct. Your tooth is then polished.
If such a filling is not going to be enough to protect your damaged tooth, or if your tooth enamel is thin and will easily fracture, or if your tooth has had a root canal that weakened your tooth condition, your tooth may require additional protection such as a crown.