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Composite Fillings

Tooth-colored fillings that are designed to match the color of your teeth are called “composites.” Composites are a mixture of glass or quartz filler that provide good durability and resistance to fracture in small- to mid-size restorations that need to withstand moderate pressure from chewing. They can generally be used on either front or back teeth.

Composites are "bonded" or adhered to your tooth. This allows us to repair your tooth more conservatively, meaning less tooth structure is removed when the tooth is prepared. This may result in a smaller filling than that of a silver (amalgam) filling.

It generally takes slightly more time to place a composite filling than it does for a metal filling because composite fillings require the tooth be kept clean and dry while the cavity is being filled. 

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WHY COMPOSITE FILLINGS?

If you have a small to moderate sized cavity anywhere in your mouth or even a small chip or tooth fracture, composite materials may be a great option to conservatively repair your tooth or teeth. Composite fillings are a strong, conservative, and highly esthetic option to help restore your teeth to optimal health, function, and appearance.


What can I expect during the procedure?

In many cases, depending on the extent of your cavity, it will be necessary for your dentist to begin by administering local anesthesia (numbing medicine). When placing composite fillings the most important thing is to keep the area dry. To do this your dentist may place a rubber dam—a thin sheet of plastic that isolates the tooth or teeth (s)he is working on and reduces contamination with saliva. Alternatively, your dentist and dental assistant may use cotton rolls and other materials to keep the tooth dry during the procedure. We will then remove any decayed areas of your tooth while simultaneously conserving as much healthy tooth structure as possible. Next, your tooth will be prepared to receive the composite filling material using a multi-step bonding process. Once the filling material is placed, a highly focused LED light will cure (set) the material. The rubber dam or other isolation materials will be removed and your tooth will be finished and polished so that your bite is comfortable and the material feels smooth to your tongue.

I had my composite filling placed, now what?

A great thing about composite fillings (versus silver fillings) is that the material is fully set immediately after the procedure. There are no restrictions to what you can eat or drink, although, we will caution you to be careful while your mouth is still numb.

As with any dental procedure some patients experience slight discomfort in the jaw due to prolonged opening or at the site of local anesthesia administration. This should resolve within a few days. On occasion, mild cold sensitivity can be a normal post-operative occurrence and again, should resolve in a few days. If your discomfort or sensitivity is severe or worsens over the few days after the procedure please give us a call. In addition, if you experience discomfort when chewing on your newly restored tooth we may need to adjust the tooth and make it more comfortable.

Please don’t hesitate to call us with questions before or after your procedure. We are here for you at any time!

 

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Untreated dental disease can lead to serious long-term problems. The American Dental Association recommends all adults and children visit a dentist every six months. Whether you're a current or future client we hope to see you soon!