Composite Fillings in Scripps Ranch
In the past, people with tooth decay (cavities or caries) had no other choice but to have their teeth filled with conspicuous metal materials like silver or amalgam. Nowadays, dentists like Dr. Jennifer Santoro can restore teeth with beautiful composite materials that are nearly identical to the color of the natural teeth and help enhance the tooth’s strength. Thanks to composite fillings, she can comprehensively address tooth decay without sacrificing the aesthetics of the smile.
Understanding Composite Fillings
Village Center Dentistry does not offer traditional metal or amalgam fillings; our team prefers to stay as metal-free as possible. Composite fillings are made from a plastic and glass mixture, so they are metal-free and very natural looking. The composite material bonds to the tooth to support it and protect it from breaking or suffering additional damage.
As someone that is committed to practicing conservative dentistry, Dr. Santoro prefers using composite fillings because they make it possible for her to preserve as much healthy tooth structure as possible, as opposed to removing large areas of enamel, which is the case when using silver/metal fillings. In some cases, she is able to do this using air abrasion techniques, which are better for the tooth, allowing Dr. Santoro to not have to use the drill nor any anesthetic.
In addition to restoring teeth with cavities and decay, composite fillings are also used to repair cracked or broken teeth, or teeth that have been worn down (due to age or chronic grinding). Composite fillings are sometimes used purely for cosmetic reasons to improve the appearance of stained or discolored teeth. And, the composite material can be used to reshape a short or small tooth or close tiny gaps between the teeth.
The Composite Filling Placement Process
Composite fillings can be placed in a single dental appointment.
First, your tooth will be numbed so you do not feel any discomfort. Then, Dr. Santoro will prepare your tooth for the filling by removing the specific spots of decay. For smaller fillings, she uses an air abrasion technique instead of a drill (this approach does not require anesthesia). After removing the decay, Dr. Santoro will thoroughly clean the tooth and prepare it for the filling material.
Once the tooth has been prepared, Dr. Santoro will apply the layers of composite material to the tooth, sculpting it as needed to recreate the shape and contours of a natural, healthy tooth. In between applying each layer, Dr. Santoro will harden the material with a special light. When she is finished, she will polish the composite so it looks like natural tooth enamel.
The tooth that receives the filling may feel slightly sensitive to hot or cold for a day or two after the procedure, but this sensation is temporary. You should brush and floss your teeth normally and return to Dr. Santoro every six months to a year to have your filling checked. A well-placed composite filling can last for years.
Learn More about Composite Fillings
For more information about using composite fillings for teeth with cavities or decay, please contact Village Center Dentistry. You can reach us by calling or sending us an email.