Composite – the dental composite is one of the most frequently used materials in dentistry. It is a tooth-colored material that can be used for dental fillings and for cosmetic dentistry. It has a lot of advantages compared to amalgam and other filling materials. It provides great esthetics, it bonds chemically to the tooth’s structures, less removal of tooth’s structure, it doesn’t contain any mercury, inexpensive and more.
This is the most commonly used material for dental fillings. Caries is a very frequent disease, so once the dentist removes it, the cavity has to be filled with a material. In the past it was the amalgam, today it is usually composite. Different brands offer different types of composites. There are also composites that are preferably used for frontal teeth and are great for aesthetics, and ones used for posterior and can withhold a larger pressure. Another common use of this material is for cosmetic purposes. That means that patients can get a white, straighter smile. It is not indicated in all cases but can help with mild spacing, short teeth, mild forms of crooked teeth, chipped, broken and more.
The procedure of composite placing is very simple. The dentist has already prepared the cavity and removed the whole tooth decay. The following step includes the placement of composite, with special instruments. He does that in layers, and every layer is exposed to a light, that makes it hard. Once the tooth shape is achieved, the dentist will use rotating brushes to polish the filing. If the composite is used for cosmetic dentistry, the dentist simply creates the requested shape with the material.
The pros include the fact that it is a tooth-colored material, that comes in many shades and forms. With this material, dentists can get really creative and achieve the effect that they are looking for. They are easily bonded to the tooth surface without the need for additional retention. That is why the dentist is able to save a lot of the tooth’s substances. During the process, dentists use an acid, that makes micro-spaces on the tooth, where the dental composite retains. It provides additional adhesion. When it comes to cosmetic dentistry, they cost significantly less than veneers and crowns. The process is simple and can only take 15 minutes. Everything gets done in one visit.
The disadvantage is that it costs more than an amalgam silver filing. There are still patients that can’t afford to get composite filings. Some medical insurances cover the larger portion of the cost. The composite material is not as strong as amalgam, but the latest advancements provide so many types that it’s much easier to find one that is perfect for posterior teeth. Another thing that patients have to be aware of is that they might experience some post-treatment sensitivity, but it goes away very fast. Composites don’t last forever, and they can change color. The reason behind this is the consumption of drinks and foods that can stain. Also, smoking can cause the fillings to become darker.