Just a few decades ago, metal fillings were the material of choice for restorative dentistry. These fillings were very noticeable, and patients often complained about how they looked. Cosmetic Dental Care in Honolulu has advanced, and it’s now popular to replace old metal fillings with a composite resin. The process is quite simple.
Before any filling can be replaced, the patient must undergo a complete exam. The dentist will take x-rays to look for any new cavities in the patient’s mouth. They will also be able to tell if the current metal filling is still fully functional.
Composite fillings are not the best option for all fillings. While they work well on front teeth and on the sides of molars, many dentists still recommend metal fillings for large cavities. Metal fillings are also often indicated for back teeth and chewing surfaces.
Removing the Filling
Taking out an old filling involves a process that is very similar to treating a cavity. The dentist will begin by numbing the patient’s mouth. A dental drill will then be used to remove the part of the tooth that contains the filling.
Since additional tooth material will be removed, the structure of the tooth may be slightly compromised. If the dentist feels the tooth is not strong enough to support a composite filling, they may suggest getting a dental crown instead. Crowns are another popular form of Cosmetic Dental Care in Honolulu.
Placing the New Filling
Composite fillings are placed in a different manner than metal ones. The dentist will insert the composite resin into the cavity. During this stage, the resin is soft and putty-like. They will slowly build up the resin until the cavity is full.
A curing light is used to harden the composite resin. During this step, the dentist will check the patient’s bite several times to make sure the filling is the correct height. Once the resin hardens, it bonds to the tooth. Unlike a metal filling, patients never have to worry about their composite filling shrinking or falling out.
The newly placed composite filling can last a decade or longer with proper care. Be sure to visit the dentist twice a year to make sure the filling is still in good condition. Landmark Dental Group can help you decide if your metal filling should be replaced with a tooth-colored composite option.