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.
- What are Composite Fillings?
- The Composite Fillings Process
- What are the Benefits of Composite Fillings?
A composite filling is a tooth-colored plastic and glass mixture used to restore damaged or decayed teeth. Composites fillings are also used for cosmetic improvements of the smile by changing the color of the teeth or reshaping disfigured teeth.
The invention of composite resin offers a substitute to the traditional dental fillings. This mixture also contains no metals in order to resemble a real tooth. Most of our patients can’t even tell we’ve performed a filling!
Composite fillings are usually placed in one appointment. While the tooth is numb, your dentist will remove decay as needed. The space will then be thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared before the new filling is placed. If the decay was near the nerve of the tooth, a special medication will be applied for added protection. The composite filling will then be precisely placed, shaped, and polished, restoring your tooth to its original shape and function.
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.
As with most dental restorations, composite fillings are not permanent and may someday have to be replaced. They are very durable and will last many years, giving you a long lasting, beautiful smile.
Here are a few benefits of Composite Fillings:
- Aesthetics. Unlike metal or amalgam (silver) fillings, composite fillings look like a natural tooth. We blend the color to match your other teeth. This makes composites ideal for front teeth, where an amalgam filling would be unattractive. Composites can be shaped to resemble a real tooth.
- Support. Composite fillings bond with the tooth, offering support to a tooth weakened by decay. In addition, less tooth needs to be removed to prepare for the composite filling as compared to an amalgam filling. Tooth material should be preserved whenever possible as it may be useful in future restorations.
- Thermal Stresses. Amalgam fillings are more likely to expand and contract when exposed to hot and cold foods, leading to cracks. The insulating qualities of composite fillings offer more protection from destructive temperature swings.
- Good Durability. Composite fillings are durable and resistant to fracture in small- to mid-size fillings. When composite fillings were first introduced, they weren’t strong enough for back teeth where grinding and chewing exerts more force. However, in the past decade, the durability of composites has improved.
- Versatility. In addition to filling cavities, the composite material can repair chipped, broken, or worn teeth.