When it comes to fillings, most people think of amalgam, or silver. That’s no surprise. Dentists have used amalgam to fill cavities for over 150 years and for good reason: Amalgam is one of the most durable and long-lasting restorative materials used in dentistry.
But what amalgam offers in affordability and endurance, it lacks in aesthetics. Composite resin, on the other hand, matches your natural tooth color. No one – not even you – can see composite fillings with a naked eye.
So what is composite resin?
Composite resin was first introduced to dentistry in the 60s and is made of a tooth-colored plastic mixture filled with silicon dioxide (glass). Early on, composite fillings were only used to restore front teeth because they weren't strong enough to withstand the chewing pressure produced by back teeth.
Today's composites not only look more natural but are also tougher, more versatile and can be used to:
- Restore small-to-mid-sized cavities
- Reshape chipped teeth and broken teeth
- Replace amalgam fillings
Composite fillings have other benefits, too. If you have sensitive teeth, composite fillings may make them less sensitive to hot and cold. And with composites, more of your tooth structure stays intact – that’s not the case with silver fillings. Composite fillings are also easily fixable if they’re damaged.