Tooth decay is one of the most common childhood illnesses, so it’s important for parents to understand the restoration options that the pediatric dentist may recommend. Composite fillings are a popular method for repairing damage done by cavities.
These composite materials are tooth-colored and made up of a mixture of plastics and ceramics or glass. Composite fillings have a number of advantages over their amalgam (metal) counterparts, so the pediatric dentist may recommend this type of restoration in your child’s case.
Obviously, the most visible benefit of a composite filling is aesthetic. Composite fillings blend it with the natural shade of a patient’s tooth, while amalgam stands out and detracts from the patient’s smile. This is of particular concern for pediatric patients, as their restorations (ideally) will be in place for a number of years.
In addition to the appearance considerations, composite fillings have other benefits. The material actually can form a bond with the tooth and provide valuable support in an area weakened by decay. The pediatric dentist will not need to remove as much of your child’s healthy tooth material in order to make room for the filling.
Composite fillings are also not affected by temperature fluctuations to the degree that amalgam ones are. Those temperature changes can cause amalgam fillings to crack and fail, but that outcome is much less likely with composite restorations.
Additionally, the durability of composite fillings has improved drastically since these materials were first introduced. In many cases, they are even suitable for cavities on the large chewing surfaces of the rear molars. In some instances, however, amalgam fillings may be indicated. The dentist can advise you on what restoration material is preferred in your child’s case.
If your child has a cavity but you are reluctant to consider an amalgam filling, ask the dentist if composite materials might be a good fit in your child’s case. We encourage you to call our office to get any additional information you may need in order to make this treatment decision.