White Fillings – Composite Restorations
A composite (tooth colored) filling is used to repair a tooth that is affected by decay, cracks, fractures, etc. The decayed or affected portion of the tooth will be removed and then filled with a composite filling.
There are many types of filling materials available, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Composite fillings, along with silver amalgam fillings, are the most widely used today. Because composite fillings are tooth colored, they can be closely matched to the color of existing teeth, and are more aesthetically suited for use in front teeth or more visible areas of the mouth.
As with most dental restorations, composite fillings have a certain lifetime and may someday have to be replaced. They are very durable and will last many, many years, giving you a long lasting beautiful smile.
Common reasons for composite fillings:
- Repairing decayed teeth (the resin is used to fill in a cavity)
- Repairing a tooth that is chipped or cracked
- Improving the color and appearance of discolored teeth
- Closing in spaces or gaps between teeth
- Making teeth appear longer (a visual improvement)
- Changing the shape of the teeth
- Using it as an alternative for amalgam fillings (cosmetic reasons)
- Protecting part of an exposed tooth root
What are the steps involved for placing a composite filling?
Placing a composite filling requires just one simple and comfortable visit to our office.
The area to be treated is numbed with a local anesthetic. Our dentist will first remove the decayed and damaged portion of your tooth, and/or existing defective restorative materials, and then clean the tooth to eliminate all traces of decay. If the cavity was near the nerve of the tooth, a special material (base) will be applied for added protection. The size of the dental filling, or the number of tooth surfaces requiring treatment will depend on the tooth as well as the extent of the damage or decay.
The tooth is prepared for the bonding process by lightly etching the surface and applying a bonding liquid. Once the liquid sets, the composite filling is applied, sculpted into the desire shape, and hardened by using a curing light.
Once set, the composite filling is trimmed, smoothed and polished, restoring your tooth to its original appearance, shape and function.
Our dentist will ask you to bite down to make sure your teeth fit together comfortably. Adjustments will be done until it is comfortable for you.
In most cases, a composite restoration will take between 30 and 60 minutes for each tooth.
It is normal to experience sensitivity to hot and cold when composite fillings are first placed, however this will subside shortly after your tooth acclimates to the new filling.
You will be given care instructions at the conclusion of your treatment. Good oral hygiene practices, eating habits, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new fillings.