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.
Composite fillings are the most widely used restorations today, and at our office they are the only type of material used for fillings. Our office is a Mercury-FREE office, and there are NO amalgam (silver) fillings placed at our office. The reason for this is because composite fillings allow the dentist to be more conservative with tooth preparation which saves important tooth structure. Instead of the old amalgam (silver) fillings always needing a convergent tooth preparation which entails drilling more tooth structure away, composite fillings save tooth structure! Composite fillings also fracture less often, as opposed to the old amalgam (silver) fillings which over the years tend to fracture and break. Because composite fillings are tooth colored, they can be closely matched to the color of existing teeth, and are aesthetically suited for both the anterior (front) and posterior (back) portions of your mouth.
As with most dental restorations, composite fillings are not permanent and may someday have to be replaced. They are very durable, and should last many years, giving you a long lasting, beautiful smile.
Reasons for composite fillings:
How are composite fillings placed?
Composite fillings are usually placed in one appointment.
Composite Restorations (Cavities/Decay/Fractured Teeth)
While the tooth is numb, your dentist will remove decay as necessary. 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.
Compositie Restorations (Abfractions from Grinding/Clenching Teeth)
For patients who grind or clench their teeth, an impulse will travel the length of these teeth and chip or remove tooth structure at the neck of the tooth (cervical margin). Over time, these "abfractions" will increase in size and start to cause sensitivity to the patient. Before this sensitivity occurs, we can place a composite restoration to cover this area. We always recommend a nite appliance (anti-bruxism device) to have our grinders and clenchers sleep with every night to protect their teeth from forming these "abfractions."
It is normal to experience sensitivity to hot and cold when composite fillings are first placed, however this will usually subside shortly after your tooth acclimates to the new filling.
You will be given home 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.