Composite Dental Fillings
NO MORE SILVER FILLINGS
While we focus on prevention and early detection to reduce the damage done by tooth decay, the reality is that no matter how well you brush and floss your teeth, you’ll likely get a cavity at some point in your life! Factors like diet, genetics, environment, medication and other health risks, all can contribute to tooth decay. The good news is, if you do need a cavity filled, there’s an alternative to the traditional silver fillings – a safe, minimally invasive tooth-colored composite filling.
Benefits of Composite Fillings
Many patients prefer composite fillings as an affordable and durable restoration because it looks like a natural colored tooth. Patients do not have to worry about other people noticing them! Plus traditional silver fillings actually require removal of more tooth structure and are more likely to fall out and/or fracture. With composite fillings, we make sure to complete the procedure in a way that is comfortable, effective, and time efficient (depending on the patient and location of the cavity).
What is a composite resin filling?
Resin fillings match the shade of your natural teeth while providing the necessary level of protection. While many refer to a composite resin as a “white” filling, the actual shade may be more of a crème, if that is what is necessary to blend in. Composite resin fillings function in the same way traditional silver ones do, and are just as effective for restoring teeth that have suffered from decay or fracture. However, these blend in and become more discreet.
COMPOSITE DENTAL FILLING QUESTIONS
How are composite fillings used?
We use composite fillings to restore tooth structure after removing the pieces of tooth that have decay. In other cases, we will use composite fillings to restore tooth damage. For example, if a tooth is chipped or loses some of the enamel, a filling may be the appropriate restoration.
Can anyone get a filling?
No. We place fillings on a frequent basis, but in order for this type of restoration to work, you do need to have a certain amount of healthy tooth structure remaining. If you are missing too much of the tooth’s structure, a dental crown may be the better solution. In this case, a crown surrounds the tooth like a cap, providing a stronger and more protective restoration.
How long do composite resin fillings last?
There is no set expiration date, but we warn patients that fillings can deteriorate and wear down just like normal teeth. This makes it important to practice good oral hygiene and to brush with a soft or electronic toothbrush while avoiding biting down on anything inedible like a pencil or chewing on ice.
Are there any special care instructions for composite fillings?
No. You care for your fillings just like you do your other teeth. You need to brush at least twice a day and floss on a daily basis. We recommend using fluoride toothpaste, since this can help to further strengthen your teeth and prevent further decay. In some cases, we may even recommend a fluoride treatment in our dental office. You should also be careful to avoid doing anything that could damage your teeth. Keep in mind that a filling is there to restore your tooth structure both in appearance and in functionality. This means we are not trying to restrict your activities or even what you can eat. Instead, we place fillings to ensure your life is not interrupted and you can return to your normal daily activities quickly.
When can I eat like normal?
If you need to have a filling placed, we will first need to remove the decayed portion of your tooth. Next, we will place the composite resin filling material on your tooth and shape it before the hardening. The shape needs to be just right so your bite will fit together correctly. It’s not uncommon to have a couple of days as an adjustment period to get used to eating on the tooth.