Traditionally, most dental restorations contained some type of metal such as silver, mercury, or tin. In addition to the metal being visible in your mouth, there are some other reasons that dentists have turned to composite materials as an alternative to metal for restorations. Here are some reasons to consider composite materials for your next dental procedure.
What is composite?
Made of a mixture of plastic and glass, composite is a tooth-colored material used for cosmetic dental improvements and restorations. This mixture does not contain any metal and can be shaped and molded to look like a natural tooth.
What are the benefits?
Patients are selecting metal-free restorations for a number of reasons. The most obvious is that they blend right in with the rest of your teeth so that many times others can’t even tell they are there. Another benefit is that they do not impact on your teeth. For example, less of the healthy portions of your tooth need to be removed to place a composite filling. The material is able to securely bond directly to the tooth, basically recreating the tooth in that area instead of just filling a hole. This lessens the risks for breakage later. Also, composite restorations are free of mercury and avoid the controversies surrounding that material being used for dental purposes.
Are there any disadvantages?
Patients sometimes experience heightened tooth sensitivity for a short time following a composite restoration. Also, the material is susceptible to staining from foods like coffee, tea, berries, and red wine. If you are worried about discoloration, your dentist may place a clear plastic coating over the composite to protect it from stains. Finally, composites used in large areas or in areas prone to extensive chewing pressure may be less durable than some other materials available. Consult your dentist to see if composite restorations are a good solution for your dental needs.
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