Composite fillings are dental fillings that are designed to match the color of your teeth. They are created with a mixture of glass or quartz in order to provide the durability you need to chew. Composite fillings can be used to repair teeth that are damaged from decay, fractures and cracks, and can generally be applied to either front or back teeth. Although composites are not always permanent and may need to be replaced someday, when cared for properly composite fillings will usually last many years.
Because a composite filling is bonded to your tooth, less tooth structure is required to be removed when the tooth is prepared. This often results in a smaller filling than would have been required if a silver (amalgam) filling had been used.
Why Choose a Composite Filling?
There are numerous types of dental filling materials available, but due to their pleasing cosmetic appeal, composite fillings are one of the most popular choices. A composite filling can:
- Repair a chipped tooth
- Repair a cracked tooth
- Repair a broken tooth
- Fill the space between teeth
- Restore teeth that are worn or damaged from decay
What to Expect When Getting a Composite Filling
The entire procedure can typically be completed in a single office visit. Depending on the severity and location of your cavity or tooth damage, the dentist may need to administer a local anesthetic. The procedure for placing composite fillings usually takes a bit longer than it takes to place a metal filling because it is vital that the area remain clean and dry until placement is complete. Cotton balls or a thin sheet of plastic is sometimes used to ensure the tooth stays dry. The tooth is then prepared to receive the composite, with any areas of decay being removed. The composite material is then placed and shaped, and a special LED light is used to cure it. Once curing is achieved your tooth will be polished and finished so that it feels smooth and comfortable.
For the first few days after your composite is placed you may experience sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures. Since the composite material is completely set immediately after the procedure, there are no restrictions to the types of food or drink you can consume. At the conclusion of your appointment you will receive care instructions. Remember that proper oral hygiene and regular dental visits will help prolong the life of your composite filling.