Tooth-colored composite resins are one of the alternatives to traditional amalgam fillings which offer superior aesthetics due to their capacity to be closely matched to surrounding teeth. The composites also have the unique property of chemically bonding with the remaining tooth structure and actually improving its integrity. Furthermore, a process called acid etching used to prepare the tooth for a composite resin procedure, which greatly reduces the amount of tooth structure which needs to be removed during preparation. Due to its natural looking appearance, these resins are often used to repair chipped, broken, and worn teeth even when they are in the front of a patient’s mouth.
Disadvantages of a composite filling include lessened longevity (composites usually last at least five years compared to amalgams’ ten to fifteen) and reduced resilience to stress from chewing and are more prone to chipping. In addition, because the composite must be applied in thin layers and each layer must be hardened with a specialized light source (usually emitting a particular wavelength of blue) chair time is increased by as much as fifty percent. Additional visits are required for more involved procedures such as inlays and onlays, and the cost of the material combined with extended chair-time result in a higher price for composite fillings compared to amalgams. A consultation is recommended to consider various options and costs.
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