If you still have metal fillings, you may consider replacing them with composite fillings the next time you make your dentist appointment. Composite fillings are a popular choice to improve the structural integrity of the tooth and keep it looking great. If you aren't sure about composite fillings yet, check out these pros and cons to determine if they are the right choice for your smile.
They Are White
The biggest problem with metal filling is their appearance, especially on front teeth. No matter what type of metal alloy you choose, it will stand out against the rest of your white smile. Composite fillings are a cosmetic way to fix your cavities because they are tooth-colored. In fact, the material can be colored to match the rest of the teeth, creating an almost flawless finish once the filling is hardened.
Composite fillings, like metal fillings, however, cannot be whitened with teeth bleaching procedures. While they are resistant to stains, they can become dull or stained over time. Similarly, if you decide to whiten your teeth after getting the composite fillings, you'll need to replace them to match.
They Bond to Tooth Tissue
The material used to make composite fillings can bond to teeth. Metal, on the other hand, can't. This makes placing a composite filling less invasive. With a metal filling, additional healthy tissue is removed to create a shelf, on which the metal filling can rest and keep the filling securely in the tooth.
This may also mean the filling is more likely to move. It won't move much, but even small micro-movements can damage the healthy tooth tissue, causing small cracks to appear, which can be difficult to see. Since composite fillings bond to tooth tissue, they don't move, making them gentler on teeth.
They Are More Expensive
Because they are a more cosmetic choice, composite fillings usually cost more than metal fillings. On average, you may pay $50 to $300 or more, depending on the number of surfaces and cavities. A tooth-colored composite filling, however, is slightly more expensive at $90 to $450 or more, depending on the number of surfaces.
Insurance usually covers some cost of a filling because it is medically necessary, even a composite filling. However, if it's a back tooth, depending on the insurance carrier, there may be additional charges, or they may cover a smaller amount.
They Don't Last as Long
The other drawback of composite fillings is their lifespan. Composite fillings are durable, but they aren't quite as durable as metal fillings. Still, after getting a tooth restored with a composite filling, it usually regains 85 to 95 percent of its strength, making them a great choice for a beautiful and strong smile.
With proper care, a metal filling may last over a decade, but a composite filling will likely need to be replaced after seven or ten years. However, new studies show that if you care well for your fillings and teeth, composite fillings may last longer.
Plus, each time you get a metal filling replaced, you may need to have more healthy tissue removed if there has been damage, further causing damage to healthy tissue.
Metal fillings may have been the norm in the past, but they require a lot of healthy tooth tissue to be removed, and they can damage your healthy teeth. Composite fillings are gentle and the bond directly to your teeth, creating a strong hold. With care, your composite filling may even last almost as long as a metal filling.
For more information about fillings, contact us at Pierpan Dentistry today. We can help you decide if composite fillings are right for you.