Composite Restorations: Repair vs Replacement
Learn which types of restoration are likely to be repaired and which should be replaced.
Composite restorations have a wide variety of applications, from filling cavities to repairing broken teeth to providing minor cosmetic contouring. Because composite fillings are white, they look very natural and support a beautiful smile.
The only problem is that while composite fillings do have a long service life, they will not last forever. A number of factors including poor oral hygiene and accidents can potentially cause the fillings to fail.
The good news is that by visiting your dentist in Los Angeles CA regularly, you can ensure your fillings and other restorations get repaired or replaced promptly, often before the damage has a chance to cause you pain or distress.
What Is Likely to Be Repaired?
Staining: In case of composite restorations used cosmetically or on parts of teeth that are visible when you smile, it may be necessary for your dentist to touch up the restorations from time to time. For example, stains might be buffed out with polishing or covered with a new top layer of material.
Fillings on molars: Because molar teeth receive more stress during biting and chewing than other teeth, dentists want to keep as much of the original tooth intact as possible. Because replacing a filling requires removal of additional tooth structure, it is typically preferred to repair a filling on a molar rather than replace it whenever possible.
What Is Likely to Be Replaced?
Fillings placed by a different dentist: According to studies, dentists tend to be more likely to replace damaged fillings that they did not place themselves. This is probably due to their desire to be absolutely sure that the patient gets a quality restoration. They are more confident in their own work than in an unknown dentist’s, and with no knowledge of the initial restoration they prefer to start over.
Multi-surface restorations: Due to the complexity of multi-surface restorations, it is typically preferred to replace them rather than attempt a repair. The concern is that the repair might not be strong enough unless the restoration is altered greatly or a significant amount of extra material is added, by which point it is usually better to just opt for a new restoration.
Silver amalgam fillings: Though we’ve been talking about composite restorations so far, it is worth noting that many dentists now prefer to replace silver amalgam fillings with white composite ones rather than trying to repair them. This is considered healthier for the patient because it prevents any further exposure to mercury.
Need Help with an Old Restoration?
If you are concerned about the appearance or integrity of a restoration, please do not hesitate to make an appointment at California Dental Group. One of our expert dentists will be happy to explain your options to you.