A plastic 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. Simple fillings can last a long time. A long time on average is seven years. Simple fillings are fillings that are 1 to 2 millimeters wide. Fillings larger the 2 millimeters have greater mass and are subject to the principles of physics. The thermal cycling causes fillings to fail or leak at the margins. Larger fillings of composite should only be used for temporary treatment. Teeth that have fractures in them should have a ceramic or metal restoration such as a onlay/inlay or a partial to full coverage crown covering the fracture.
There are many types of filling materials available, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. You and your dentist can discuss the best options for restoring your teeth. Composite fillings, along with silver amalgam fillings, are the most widely used today. Because composite fillings are tooth colored, they can be closely matched to the color of existing teeth, and are more aesthetically suited for use in front teeth or the more visible areas of the teeth.
As with most dental restorations, composite fillings are not permanent and may someday have to be replaced. Each time they are replaced tooth structure has to be removed. They are very durable, and will last years depending on the location, giving you a beautiful smile.
Reasons for composite fillings:
How are composite fillings placed?
Composite fillings are usually placed in one appointment. 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.
It is normal to experience sensitivity to hot and cold when composite fillings are first placed, however this will subside shortly after your tooth acclimates to the new filling.
You will be given 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.