A composite (tooth colored) filling is used to repair a tooth that is compromised by decay, cracks, fractures or acidic erosion. The affected portion of the tooth is removed and cleaned prior to restoration with the bonded composite resin. Composite fillings are also known as “dental bonding” or simply “bonding”.
Advantages of Composite Fillings:
- Composite fillings are tooth colored and can be matched to your existing tooth structure for very life-like esthetics.
- Composite resin filling materials are bonded to your existing tooth structure using dental bonding agents as opposed to being mechanically locked in with silver amalgam material.
- Healthy tooth structure can preserved since only affected areas of the tooth are removed. Because they are bonded, composite fillings can be very conservative compared with silver amalgam.
- Composite fillings can be used to correct chipped teeth, close gaps between teeth and repairing fractured and decayed teeth.
- Patients with a history of tooth grinding and strong bite patterns may wear composite fillings prematurely and may consider other restorative materials.
- Composite fillings can stain over time and need to be polished and/or replaced
As with any dental restoration, composite fillings are not permanent and will need to be replaced at some point. They are very durable with the modern materials and techniques available and can last many years with proper homecare, recall visits and maintenance.
How are Composite fillings placed?
Composite fillings are usually placed in one appointment. We administer local anesthesia for your comfort and place an isolation device that helps support your jaw and vacuum water and debris (see Isolite® under the Technology tab).
Your tooth is then cleaned and prepared for the placement of the bonded composite resin. Special dental bonding agents and desensitizing liquids are carefully applied to the tooth. Composite material is placed incrementally in the correct shade until your tooth is restored to its original size, shape and function. An ultraviolet curing light hardens or “cures” the material into the tooth. We then shape and polish the restoration to feel like your natural teeth. The entire procedure is usually completed in less than an hour.
It is normal for some patients to feel a temporary sensitivity to hot and cold liquids for a few days after a composite filling.