At some point or other in ours lives, most of us wind up with a cavity or a broken tooth. In most cases, a cavity calls for your dentist to remove the decay and to fill in the tooth area that was removed. Most of us have had amalgam fillings (silver) or gold filling restorations. Metal fillings were effective, but very conspicuous and tended to blacken in color over time.
Composite resin tooth colored dental fillings were created as an alternative to traditional metal dental fillings. Tooth fillings colored to look like a natural tooth are known as Composite Resin Dental Fillings and are made of a plastic dental resin. Composite Resin Dental Fillings are strong, durable, and make for a very natural looking smile.
Who is a candidate for composite resin fillings?
If you have a cavity in a tooth, a broken filling or tooth, or a discolored tooth with an amalgam filling in it - you can easily have the silver amalgam filling removed and replaced with a far more attractive tooth colored filling. These fillings actually strengthen your tooth beyond the level it had with the amalgam fillings.
How are tooth colored fillings made?
After you are adequately numb, Dr. Chopra will clean out any decay, or remnants of a previous filling. This is accomplished with traditional dental drills or with the newer micro air abrasion system. With a composite filling, Dr. Chopra will preserve more of the natural tooth as the composite resin can be bonded to the tooth in thin layers. If your tooth's decayed area is close to a nerve, a special liner will be used to protect the nerve.
A special dental bonding agent is then used to open up the pores of your tooth's dentin and roughen up the surface of the exposed enamel. This achieves a better and stronger bond. The bond resin is applied to stick the composite to your tooth. This material is made of the same dental resin as the composite however it is much more fluid. This layer is then hardened and cured with a very bright light.
Composite resin fillings are applied in thin layers and slowly built up to form the complete filling. A bright dental light will harden each layer before the next is applied. Once your filling is completed, Dr. Chopra will use a special paper, articulating paper, to adjust the height of your dental filling and ensure that your bite remains correct. Your tooth is then polished.
If such a filling is not going to be enough to protect your damaged tooth, or if your tooth enamel is thin and will easily fracture, or if your tooth has had a root canal that weakened your tooth condition, your tooth may require additional protection such as a crown.
How much do composite resin fillings cost?
Dental insurance plans usually consider the replacing of metal fillings with composite resin fillings to improve your smile a cosmetic procedure. Typically your dental insurance coverage may reimburse you for these types of dental fillings. Most dental insurance coverage will only cover a percentage, usually 50% to 80%, of these fillings. As composite resin fillings are more time consuming they are more expensive than amalgam fillings. Although costs vary across the country and by dental office, the cost of typical metal filling ranges from approximately $75 to $145 per filling, whereas a composite resin fillings range from $84 to $200 for a multiple surface tooth colored composite filling.
Pros and Cons of composite resin fillings
The composite resin fillings bond to further support the remaining tooth structure, which helps prevent breakage and damage to your tooth. They certainly look better, and are color blended to match your natural tooth color. These fillings are often used to improve the appearance of misshapen, chipped or discolored teeth.
Composite resin fillings last about six to twelve years or more, and the procedure usually takes just one visit to your dentist. There is very little sensitivity to hot or cold items often experienced with amalgam fillings. Dr. Chopra won't need to drill as much of the tooth structure as with amalgam fillings.
Composite resin fillings require more time to apply than amalgam fillings. This results in an increased cost for placing composite fillings.
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