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What Are Composite Dental Fillings, and Why Do You Need Them?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 30% of adults between the ages of 20 and 44 have untreated tooth decay. If you have cavities, you’re certainly not alone! 

At Santa Monica Bay Dental, in Santa Monica, California, our experts are highly skilled at saving teeth and making them look great. If you have tooth decay, we can help. Most often, the solution to mild to moderate decay is a dental filling

Stop the damage

Dental fillings have been used since the late 1800s. When you have a cavity, bacteria creates tiny holes in your teeth, and eventually that decay works its way deeper into your teeth, to the pulp, and even to your jawbone. Untreated decay can cause big problems. 

Dental fillings seal the holes and stop the decay. You don’t suffer tooth loss or damage to your jawbone. At Santa Monica Bay Dental, we offer two types of fillings, and find that our clients consistently choose one over the other. 

Old versus new

The oldest type of dental filling is an amalgam filling. It’s probably what you imagine when you think of a filling. An amalgam filling is a mix of metals, usually about 50% mercury, which binds the others together. When it’s first placed in your tooth it looks silver; over time it darkens. 

A composite filling is made of a compound of ceramic and plastic. These are sometimes called “tooth-colored” fillings because they blend in and aren’t as noticeable as amalgam fillings. 

Preserving as much tooth as possible

Composite fillings are more flexible, which means they can be better molded to fit your tooth. The result is less need for drilling, and preservation of more of your natural tooth. 

Better bonding

Whatever type of filling you have needs to bond to your tooth so that it stays put. Composite fillings bond at a micro-level to your natural tooth, and that bonding provides additional support. 

Appearances matter

Your smile is one of the first things people notice about you, and composite fillings simply look better than amalgam fillings. If your cavity is in a tooth that is clearly visible when you smile, we strongly recommend a composite filling. 

When your smile is bright and attractive, you project a self-confident, pleasant demeanor. Composite fillings can help you feel better about yourself and reflect your personality more accurately. 

A mercury-free mouth

The FDA has cleared the use of mercury in fillings, and there’s no evidence that an amalgam filling causes mercury poisoning. However, some people are allergic to the metals in amalgam fillings, and some people would simply prefer to not have mercury in their mouths. 

Composite fillings are safer if you have allergies, and thanks to their ceramic base, you won’t have any mercury to worry about. 

If you have questions about dental fillings, book an appointment at Santa Monica Bay Dental. Just give us a call at 310-453-8606 or send us a message online, and we’ll be happy to get you on our schedule! 

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