Tooth-colored Composites

Advantages of composites:

  1. Aesthetics -- the shade/color of the composite fillings can be closely matched to the color of existing teeth. Composites are particularly well suited for use in front teeth or visible parts of teeth.
  2. Bonding to tooth structure -- composite fillings actually chemically bond to tooth structure, providing further support.
  3. Versatility -- in addition to use as a filling material for decay, composite fillings can also be used to repair chipped, broken, or worn teeth.
  4. Tooth-sparing preparation -- sometimes less tooth structure needs to be removed compared with amalgam fillings when removing decay and preparing for the filling.

Disadvantages of composites:

  1. Lack of durability -- composite fillings wear out sooner than amalgam fillings (lasting at least five years compared with at least 10 to 15 for amalgams); in addition, they may not last as long as amalgam fillings under the pressure of chewing and particularly if used for large cavities.
  2. Increased chair time -- because of the process to apply the composite material, these fillings can take up to 20 minutes longer than amalgam fillings to place.
  3. Additional visits -- if composites are used for inlays or onlays, more than one office visit may be required.
  4. Chipping -- depending on location, composite materials can chip off the tooth.
  5. Expense -- composite fillings can cost up to twice the cost of amalgam fillings.

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