Composite Fillings

Did you know that 91% of adults have some form of tooth decay or cavity? It's more common than you might think! 

So how is this prevalent dental issue treated? The answer is usually simple -- composite fillings. 

Composite fillings are one of the most common dental procedures we perform at our office in Fremont, CA. Learn more about what composite fillings are and how the procedure works here! 

What is a Composite Filling?

Composite fillings are tooth-colored materials used to fill cavities and protect your tooth from further damage. 

Composite fillings start out as a liquid. They are made of BPA-free plastic (usually acrylic) and contain a filler for rigidity that’s either powdered glass or quartz.

Since composite fillings start out as a liquid, they are able to fill every crevice to protect your teeth from further damage.

How Long Does a Composite Filling Last?

Depending on oral care and diet, a composite filling can last from five to ten years. It's important to be mindful of what you eat after you get a composite filling: sticky foods may cause it to pull out, and hard foods can cause it to break.

Composite Filling Procedure

Regardless of the type of dental filling you choose, the procedure includes the same five steps: numbing, damming, drilling, filling, and shaping.

  • Numbing - First, a topical anesthetic is applied to the gum. After a few minutes, a local anesthetic is injected to fully numb the tooth and surrounding area.

  • Damming - When the area is numb, the tooth being repaired is isolated to prevent saliva from contaminating the area.

  • Drilling - After the tooth is dammed off, the damaged or decayed area is drilled out to make space for the filling.

  • Filling - The dentist will begin by ensuring the tooth is dry and then applying an adhesive. Once the adhesive is ready, the composite filling material is injected into the void where the decay or damage was removed. Once the filling has been placed, the dentist will cure the resin with a special light.

  • Shaping - After the filling hardens, it will be shaped to give full functionality to the tooth.

Types of Fillings

There are four common types of fillings. Each filling type has its own life expectancy, characteristics, and benefits. Here is a breakdown of each.

Composite Filling

Composite fillings are a desirable choice because they are durable and closely match the color of your natural teeth. They are made of a plastic resin with glass or quartz powder for strength. The solution starts out in liquid form and is cured with a bright light to solidify it. Composite fillings tend to last 5-10+ years. 

Silver Amalgam

Being one of the more inexpensive dental filling materials, silver amalgam fillings are a popular option. These fillings last longer than almost any other option -- their lifespan is about 12-15 years. But, they don't match the color of your teeth. Silver amalgam fillings are best for back teeth where they won't be as noticeable. 

Ceramic Filling

Like composite fillings, ceramic fillings are able to closely match the color of natural teeth. They are most effective when used on larger cavities and are usually more costly than their composite counterparts. This being said, they do usually last five or more years.

Glass Ionomer Filling

Glass ionomer fillings are used on smaller cavities near the gum line. They are generally reserved for children whose teeth are still developing. This type of filling is a very temporary solution, lasting around three to five years. 

Composite Fillings in Fremont, CA

Don't let a small cavity become worse by neglect. This can not only cause ]pain and discomfort, but cost more money when everything is said and done. 

If you suspect you have a cavity or tooth decay, schedule an appointment online or call today to learn about the best dental filling options! 


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