The tooth colored alternative to traditional amalgam (silver colored) fillings.
- Decay on a portion of any tooth
- Desire to replace amalgam (silver colored) fillings
- Desire to maintain a white, beautiful smile
A composite restoration is a tooth colored, quartz-like material. After Dr. Pooley removes the decay from a tooth, the composite is layered into the tooth. Each layer is hardened or cured with highly intense visible light, and is then shaped and polished to match the tooth. The final restoration is essentially invisible.
Bottom tooth is Composite. Compare to the upper tooth with amalgam.
Left tooth with composite and right tooth with amalgam showing typical gray staining from amalgam.
Composite restorations are more than just aesthetically appealing, they:
- Are environmentally non-toxic because they use no mercury or other metals.
- Are stronger than amalgam restorations because they bond directly to the surface of the tooth.
- Protect the tooth from weakening as they don’t require the severe “undercut” (removal of healthy tooth structure) that amalgam does.
The initial investment in a composite restoration is higher than that for an amalgam filling. This is due to the fact that the composite material is more expensive and the restoration involves the use of additional equipment and is therefore time consuming to place. However, this initial higher investment is offset in the long run by the health benefits and reduced likelihood of restoring potentially fractured teeth.
Inlays or onlays can be good alternatives to composite fillings, as they offer excellent long term durability. In cases of extensive decay,Dr. Pooley feels inlays, onlays or crowns are the best alternatives.