Home/Restorative Dentistry/Composite Fillings

Dental fillingsA filling is one of the most routine yet effective treatments to repair tooth decay. When a portion of the enamel is weakened by a cavity, fillings provide a minimally invasive solution to restore the integrity of the affected tooth. Traditionally, fillings were composed of a metal amalgam material that offered durability, but did not look very natural among surrounding teeth. Dr. Mark Griffiths, our extensively trained dentist in Bankers Hill, places tooth-colored composite fillings for San Diego patients who are seeking an aesthetically pleasing restoration to treat their cavity. 

What are Composite Fillings?

Composite fillings are utilized to treat small to mid-size cavities and fractures in the tooth enamel. They are bonded directly to the surface of a tooth and designed to withstand pressure from chewing, often resulting in long-lasting protection. Composite fillings are made out of a glass or quartz filler coated in tooth-colored resin, which can greatly resemble the shade and translucency of natural tooth enamel. As a result, composite fillings can blend in with your teeth and do not inhibit the beauty of your smile. Aside from their aesthetic advantages, composite fillings also require less tooth preparation than metal fillings. With metal amalgam, a dentist typically has to remove more of the tooth structure to make room for the filling. Composite fillings do not require as much preparation to rebuild a tooth, allowing patients to address decay while preserving more of their natural tissue.  

Reasons for Getting a Filling

A composite filling is a simple restoration that can treat an array of minor dental concerns. Fillings are generally ideal in cases where decay is threatening the health of a tooth, but the damage is not severe enough to require a dental crown. Depending on your overall goals, composite fillings can be placed to repair: 

If you do not have a cavity but you would like to restore the appearance of a chipped or misshapen tooth, composite bonding is another option at Griffiths Smiles that can refine a tooth without invasive techniques. Dr. Griffiths can develop your unique treatment plan after listening to your concerns and assessing the best solutions to achieve your goals.
 

Fillings vs. Dental Crowns

Composite fillings are capable of repairing teeth that have been weakened by minor decay, but more extensive damage may require a dental crown to strengthen and protect the enamel. A dental crown is a custom-fabricated “cap” that covers the entire surface of a tooth. Rather than being bonded directly to a tooth like a filling, dental crowns require more preparation of the natural tooth structure prior to being attached. While composite fillings are more intended to treat minor issues, dental crowns can effectively repair fillings that have fractured, as well as broken, cracked, and severely decayed teeth. 

How Long Do Composite Fillings Last?

Tooth-colored fillings offer results that can last many years, but the exact lifespan of these restorations usually depends on where the fillings are located and the pressure of your bite. If you are prone to clenching your jaw or teeth grinding, this excessive force may shorten the longevity of your fillings. In general, good oral hygiene consisting of daily brushing and flossing, as well as regular dental check ups, is the only maintenance necessary to keep fillings in good condition. If a more durable or long-lasting restoration is desired to address your cosmetic dental concerns, porcelain veneers may be a better option to achieve your goals. Dr. Griffiths can help you determine an optimal treatment plan once he assesses your tooth in person. 

If your tooth has been sensitive for more than one week, this may be indicative of a cavity or decayed enamel. Don’t hesitate to contact Griffiths Smiles online or by calling (619) 298-6257 to schedule an appointment to restore a clean, healthy mouth.