Composite Dental Fillings: The Best Solution for Restored, Natural-Looking Teeth
Even with impeccable dental hygiene, tooth decay can still affect many people at some point in their lives. Dental fillings are a highly effective solution to seal cavities and prevent further decay, saving natural teeth from more invasive and costly procedures like tooth extractions or root canal therapy. However, traditional metal fillings have their drawbacks, with their noticeable appearance, potential teeth darkening, and sensitivity to temperature changes. Luckily, our San Luis Obispo cosmetic dentists can more safely and discreetly restore your teeth with composite dental fillings, giving you a natural-looking, healthy smile.
What are Composite Dental Fillings?
Composite dental fillings are crafted from a blend of materials, including glass, quartz, and resin, which can be customized to match the shape and color of your natural teeth. Like metal fillings such as silver (amalgam) and gold fillings, composite fillings seal cavities and strengthen damaged teeth. However, the advantages of composite fillings far surpass those of traditional metal fillings.
Benefits of Composite Dental Fillings
- Non-Conductive: Composite fillings eliminate the risk of galvanic shock, a phenomenon where electric currents pass between different metal fillings in the mouth, causing discomfort.
- Temperature Resistant: Unlike metal fillings that expand and contract significantly with temperature changes, composite fillings experience minimal changes, reducing stress on the tooth and alleviating pain and sensitivity.
- Natural Appearance: Composite fillings are shaped and colored to blend seamlessly with your natural teeth, and they do not darken over time, ensuring an attractive, long-lasting restoration.
- Preservation of Enamel: Composite fillings require less removal of natural tooth structure compared to metal fillings, preserving more of your tooth’s enamel.
- Quick Setting: Composite fillings are cured using a handheld blue light, allowing you to resume normal eating and drinking immediately after the procedure.
- Replacements for Metal Fillings: Even if you already have metal fillings, our skilled dentists can adeptly replace them with natural-looking composite fillings using advanced techniques.
The Composite Dental Fillings Process
Before undergoing treatment with composite dental fillings, you’ll have a consultation with your San Luis Obispo cosmetic dentist. During this session, your cosmetic dentist will examine your mouth, review your medical history, and discuss your dental health goals to determine your eligibility for composite fillings.
Preparation for Your Composite Filling
At your subsequent appointment, your tooth will be numbed with a local anesthetic. Your dentist will then remove all decayed and infected material from the cavity, making space for the filling and preventing further damage.
Placing Your Composite Filling
The composite resin will be applied in layers to fill the cavity, with each layer being cured using a blue light, hardening the resin within seconds. Your cosmetic dentist will carefully shape and polish the filling to match your natural tooth’s appearance. Once the procedure is completed, you’ll leave our San Luis Obispo office with a robust, discreet filling, enhancing your smile immediately.
Caring For Composite Dental Fillings
To ensure the longevity and optimal performance of your composite fillings, follow these essential aftercare guidelines:
- Regular Dental Visits: Schedule routine dental exams with Dr. Ramirez at our San Luis Obispo practice at least twice a year. These check-ups allow our dental team to monitor the health of your fillings, detect any potential issues early on, and provide timely maintenance.
- Proper Dental Hygiene: Maintain excellent oral hygiene by brushing your teeth for two minutes, twice a day, using fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Additionally, floss daily to clean between your teeth and remove plaque from hard-to-reach areas.
- Rinse After Meals: After eating, rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash to wash away food particles and reduce the risk of bacteria accumulation around your composite fillings.
- Avoid Harmful Habits: Refrain from using your teeth as tools to open packages or bite down on hard objects. Such habits can place excessive pressure on the fillings and potentially lead to damage.
- Limit Staining Substances: Reduce consumption of stain-causing substances like coffee, tea, red wine, and tobacco. These can discolor the composite filling over time, affecting its appearance.
- Watch for Signs of Damage: Be attentive to any changes in your composite fillings, such as cracks, chips, or sensitivity. If you notice any issues, contact our office at (805) 549-8483 promptly to schedule an appointment for assessment and potential repairs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Composite fillings can last up to a decade with proper dental care and routine visits with your dentist. If your filling becomes damaged, call your dentist as soon as possible. They’ll evaluate your filling; if needed, it can be easily repaired or replaced.
Unlike some other dental restorations, composite fillings harden instantly with a blue light, eliminating the need for dietary restrictions to ensure proper setting. However, your dentist will usually recommend waiting until the anesthetic wears off, usually within two hours, before eating to avoid accidentally damaging your lips, tongue, or gums.
Yes, composite fillings are an ideal choice for individuals with allergies or sensitivities to metals. Unlike traditional metal fillings, composite fillings are metal-free and biocompatible, minimizing the risk of adverse reactions.
While your filling will help prevent further decay by stopping bacteria from entering your teeth through cavities, it will remain a necessity for you to practice proper dental hygiene. That means you’ll still need to brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day, floss once a day, rinse after meals, and see your dentist at least twice a year for routine dental exams.
Call Today & Experience The Beauty of Composite Fillings
Composite fillings offer a superior option for restoring teeth, providing a natural appearance and exceptional durability. Embrace the benefits of this advanced dental technology, and let Dr. Ramirez and her team in San Luis Obispo help you achieve a beautiful, healthy smile that lasts. Call our practice by dialing (805) 549-8483 or click the button below to request an appointment. We serve new and returning patients from San Luis Obispo and surrounding areas such as Santa Margarita, Arroyo Grande, and Pismo Beach, CA.