A composite (tooth-colored) filling is used to repair a tooth that is affected by decay, cracks, fractures, etc. The decayed or affected portion of the tooth will be removed and then filled with a composite filling.
There are many types of filling materials available, each with their advantages and disadvantages. Your dentist can discuss with you the best option for restoring your teeth. Composite fillings and silver amalgam fillings are the most commonly used today. Because composite fillings are tooth colored, they can be carefully matched to the color of existing teeth, and are more aesthetically suited for use in front teeth or more visible areas of the mouth.
As with most dental restorations, composite fillings are not permanent. You may need to replace fillings someday. They are, however, very durable and will last many years, giving you a long-lasting, beautiful smile.
Why Get Composite Fillings?
Composite fillings are an excellent alternative to metal fillings. Because metal fillings often contain trace amounts of mercury, they can be a huge detriment to your health. We often replace metal fillings with our white fillings. Not only do they not contain mercury, but they’ll also blend right in with your smile. With white fillings, others will never be able to tell that you had any teeth filled.
White fillings are also a versatile fix for many minor dental problems. In most cases, patients will receive a filling for small amounts of decay. This is particularly the case of decay that you can manage easily. However, this is far from everything fillings can do. Fillings are also used to fix the following:
Problems Composite Fillings Can Fix
1. Chipped teeth – When a tooth has a small chip, it’s possible to fill the gap using a white filling. This will also look like the texture of regular teeth, so you won’t have to be embarrassed about having a chip in your tooth.
2. Space between teeth – Many patients have a small amount of space between some of their teeth. In many cases, dental experts use white fillings to fill this space. This is similar to the way fillings are used on chipped teeth, but it’s slightly more delicate. When dentists do this, they have to match the shade of your teeth while preserving a smaller, natural-looking gap between your teeth. While this solution is more delicate, it’s still a routine procedure that our dentists can perform if you so choose.
3. Broken or cracked teeth – Dentists can even use white fillings to fix more extreme cracks and breaks. As long as the structure of a tooth is somewhat intact, dentists can use fillings to help reinforce the tooth.
4. Decayed teeth – Fillings are most commonly used to fix decayed teeth. If a tooth has developed a cavity or even trace amounts of decay, dentists use fillings to stop the spread of the decay.
5. Worn teeth – Over time, our teeth naturally become worn down. For those who suffer from Bruxism, or teeth grinding, this process happens even more quickly. Dentists sometimes use fillings to remediate severely worn-down teeth.
If you have amalgam fillings, it’s up to you to decide if you want to have them replaced. Not everyone chooses to replace them, but it’s certainly worth consideration. If you have any questions about replacing amalgam fillings, feel free to call us at 402-467-1000. You can also learn more about replacing amalgam fillings here.
How are composite fillings placed?
Your dentist will place your composite filling in just one appointment. While the tooth is numb, your dentist will remove decay as needed. The space will then be thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared for the new filling. If the decay were near the nerve of the tooth, dentists would apply a special medication for added protection. The composite filling will then be precisely placed, shaped, and polished, restoring your tooth to its original form and function.
It is normal to experience sensitivity to hot and cold when composite fillings are first placed, however, this will subside shortly after your tooth acclimates to the new filling. Your dentist will give you care instructions at the conclusion of your treatment. Good oral hygiene practices, eating habits, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new fillings.
Frequently Asked Questions about Composite Fillings
Should I replace my amalgam fillings?
As we mentioned before, it’s up to you to decide what’s right. Amalgam fillings have been known to carry trace amounts of mercury. This mercury often infiltrates our body’s systems, causing damage to our health over an extended period of time. However, many people go their whole lives with mercury fillings and are fine. Our dentists are happy to talk you through these issues, but the choice is ultimately up to you.
How much do composite fillings cost?
The cost of composite fillings can vary widely. The total cost of having a filling placed depends on a handful of factors, ranging from which tooth to the reason for the filling. Most of the time, these fillings cost somewhere between $100-$200. However, it’s impossible to offer an accurate estimate without seeing the patient’s mouth. Because of this, we encouraged our patients to come in for an appointment. At the appointment, our dentists can offer a more accurate estimate.
Does dental insurance cover the cost of composite fillings?
In most cases, fillings are covered by dental insurance. Because fillings are considered a restorative procedure, insurance plans usually include them. With most insurance plans, there is a limited number of fillings you can receive before the company stops covering them. If you take care of your teeth at home, your insurance will be more likely to cover fillings, as you shouldn’t need them very often.