Cavities are small pits that form on the surfaces of your teeth as a result of improper care and tooth decay. Tooth decay occurs when plaque and bacteria in your mouth erodes your tooth enamel, leading to weakened spots on a tooth. Without treatment, the weak spots worsen, and can eventually lead to cavities. When you have a cavity, it should be treated right away. At Waikiki Dental, we like to treat cavities with composite fillings.
What is a Composite Filling?
A composite filling is a treatment for a cavity. This type of filling uses a composite resin material to restore the health of your teeth. A composite filling provides an alternative to traditional amalgam (silver) fillings. The composite filling a tooth colored material that matches the natural color of your teeth, making it ideal for treating cavities, especialling teeth near the front of your mouth.
The composite material does not contain any metal or mercury. Composite resin also bonds with your natural tooth structure, rather than simply filling in the cavity. Because of this, less of your natural tooth structure needs to be drilled away to place the filling.
How Long Does a Composite Filling Last?
While composite fillings are not as strong as amalgam ones, they are still quite strong and can last for several years, and quite common to last up to 10 years or more.
What Factors Affect the Longevity of a Composite Filling?
There are many different factors that can impact the longevity of a composite filling. Factors may include:
- The location of the filling. Biting and chewing pressures are greater at the back of your mouth. While composite fillings are fairly strong, they may wear out faster if placed in your molars.
- The size of the filling. Typically, smaller fillings tend to last longer because fewer issues are likely to occur.
- If you suffer from bruxism. Bruxism is a condition in which you grind and clench your teeth. These actions place excessive pressure on your teeth. As a result, an amalgam filling may wear out faster.
- What you eat and drink. Sugary or acidic foods and beverages can increase your risk of enamel erosion. This can increase the risk of problems developing with your composite fillings.
- Your oral hygiene habits. Maintaining good oral hygiene practices is essential for your oral health and the longevity of your fillings. If you neglect your oral hygiene, new decay can form around your filling, compromising it. Additionally, poor oral hygiene also increases your risk for developing cavities in your other teeth.
- Dental techniques when placing your composite fillings. How your composite fillings are placed is essential for making sure they last. It is important that the affected tooth is properly cleaned and dried to prevent moisture and bacteria from contaminating the treatment area.
Composite fillings provide you with a much more aesthetic alternative to amalgam fillings. For more information, contact Waikiki Dental today at (916) 772-6248.