4 Things To Know About Cavities And Composite Resin Fillings

Do you have a cavity in your tooth that needs to be filled with a composite resin filling? Here are a few things that you should know about this dental process used to save a tooth. 

What Is The Purpose Of Filling A Cavity?

Any time you have a tooth that is suffering from tooth decay, that decay needs to be removed from the tooth to stop the bacteria from spreading further into it. A filling will help protect that exposed area of the tooth and extend the potential lifespan. It can also potentially indefinitely delay the need to get more dental work performed on the tooth to save it. 

How Are Cavities Found?

Your dentist will take an x-ray of your mouth to check for cavities. The areas that are decayed will typically look darkened, because the decayed part of the tooth is less intact than the other areas. This can help a dentist identify cavities that would normally be difficult to see on their own due to damage beneath the surface. 

Why Use A Composite Resin Filling?

Dentist will place an amalgam metal or composite resin filling into a tooth to fill a cavity. However, many dentists and patients prefer to use a composite resin filling, even though the amalgam metal filling is more affordable.

A composite resin filling actually sticks to the tooth's surface by creating a bond, so less of the tooth's structure needs to be removed in order to place the filling in your tooth. With an amalgam filling, the dentist actually needs to create a small lip so that the material can stay within the tooth. A composite resin filling also has a color that resembles a tooth, making it blend in seamlessly with the tooth. Amalgam is a dark metal material, which will be noticeable to others. 

How Is A Composite Filling Placed In A Tooth?

When a composite resin filling is placed in a tooth, the dentist will need to prepare the tooth by creating a rough surface for the resin to bond to. They will then dry the surface of the tooth using an air syringe, then apply a dental adhesive to the tooth's surface. The composite material is placed into the tooth and packed tightly using a condenser tool, and a burnisher is used to smooth out the surface. A curing light is then used to harden the material so that it stays in its final shape. The composite material is then polished when finished.