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Composite Dental Fillings: What are they and when are they used?

Almost everyone will need a dental filling to address a cavity eventually. Despite how common they are, some people might not be aware of the options available. Today, our West Toronto dentists share some facts about them.

What is a composite filling?

If you develop a cavity, your dentist will remove decay from your tooth and use a filling to 'fill' or cover the area where the decayed material has been eliminated. 

While fillings were traditionally a silver-coloured material known as amalgam, this was quite visible in contrast to a tooth's natural shade. Over time, other options were developed, one of which was composite. 

Composite fillings contain a tooth-coloured mix of ceramic and plastic, making them an excellent choice for teeth that are exposed or visible when you speak or smile. 

When are they used?

Composite fillings are effective for repairing chipped or cracked teeth because they blend in with your tooth and have a natural appearance.

Tooth areas that sustain heavy use, such as the chewing surfaces of molars, are typically not good candidates for a composite filling.

Some dental plans won't cover the cost of composite fillings in these areas due to their reduced strength in comparison to amalgam. Speak with your dentist to determine which type best suits your needs.

Why Composite Fillings?

  • Composite fillings blend with your natural teeth, making them virtually invisible. 
  • The material is slightly flexible resulting in reduced drilling, and preserving more of your natural tooth.
  • The resin material in composite fillings creates a strong bond with your tooth.
  • They are durable and can withstand moderate pressure and usage.
  • They are well-suited to small fillings and repairs.
  • Composite can also be used to handle other cosmetic alterations, such as changing the colour or shape of your teeth.

How Long Do Composite Fillings Last?

Composite fillings, while durable, tend to have a shorter life span than other filling materials. They tend to last about 7 years. You might get 10 years out of a composite filling if the fillings are well taken care of through proper oral hygiene habits.

Are Composite Fillings Safe?

The composite dental filling has become increasingly popular and many dentists say that composite resin causes no health concern. Both composite filling and sealants are made of resin material, containing BPA which releases for some time in the mouth after filling replacement.

However, the dental community pointed out some significant facts. According to them, studies have failed to underline any conclusive results regarding the use of BPA in the resins as a harmful component. In addition to that, they believe that composite resins use a negligible amount of Bis-GMA, which is not detrimental to the patients. They concluded health concerns regarding composite resins are baseless that and do not have substantial evidence to prove BPA as a threat to human health.

If you need a filling or have noticeable cracks, chips, or gaps, contact our West Toronto dentists today to schedule a consultation.


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