A Composite (Tooth-Colored) Filling is a special type of restorative dental filling that is designed to match the color of your teeth. They are made with a mixture of quartz or glass in order to provide you with the durability you need to resist fractures and to chew. Composites can be used to restore the integrity of teeth that are decayed, chipped, fractured or cracked. Although they are often applied on front or more visible teeth, composites can usually be used to repair either the front or the back teeth. Composite fillings may eventually need replaced due to normal wear and tear, but when properly cared for composites will typically last a very long time.
Composite fillings are adhered (bonded) to your teeth, requiring less tooth material to be removed so your filling size is generally smaller than would be required with a silver (amalgam) filling.
Why Choose a Composite Filling?
There are various types of high quality dental filling materials available to repair and restore your teeth, and your dentist can help your decide which material is best for you. A composite filling can:
- Repair chips in teeth
- Repair cracks in teeth
- Fill gaps between teeth
- Restore a tooth that is damaged from decay
What to Expect When Getting a Composite Filling
The composite filling procedure can generally be completed in one office visit. Depending on the location and severity of your tooth damage, the dentist may need to provide a numbing medication prior to the procedure. Placing composite fillings usually takes longer than placing a metal filling because it is imperative that the tooth remains dry throughout the procedure. Sometime pieces of cotton are used to ensure the immediate area stays dry. Decay is then removed and the tooth is prepared to receive the composite with a special two-part bonding material. Once the composite is placed, an LED light is used to cure the material. Your tooth will then be polished and checked to ensure that it is comfortable.
Many people report experiencing a slight sensitivity to heat or cold for the first few days after getting a composite filling. There are no restrictions to the types of food you can eat or what you can drink, however, because the material sets immediately and sensitivity should subside after only a few days. You will receive instructions to help you understand how to care for your new filling at the end of your appointment. Remember that proper oral hygiene and regular dental visits will help prolong the life of your composite filling.