When a dental patient is suffering from a cavity, a tooth colored filling is one of the common treatment options available. These cosmetically appealing alternatives to the metal fillings used in former years have grown in popularity and are now the filling used most often in addressing cavities. Some dental patients may still have questions…
Composite Fillings: What You Should Know
Composite fillings are tooth-colored filling materials created from the mixture of resin and filler. It is a plasticine-like putty applied to fill a decayed tooth, repair a chipped tooth, rebuild a worn tooth or alter the shape or size of a tooth. They are a great alternative to an amalgam filling.
The process of getting a composite depends on the dental work involved, as it is in different stages. The dentist will first clean the tooth thoroughly before placing the composite material. Afterward, the dentist will polish and buff the filling to blend it in with the tooth. A minor tooth chip repair should only take about 20 minutes.
Getting a composite filling
If the dentist discovers a cavity after a routine checkup, X-ray and other examinations, the patient will be given a second appointment to come in for a tooth filling.
The dentist may administer anesthesia, depending on the size of the cavity. For small fillings, anesthesia may not be necessary, but the intense washing and drying of the tooth may cause it to be somewhat sensitive afterward. A bit of a numbing agent may help with such sensations. A typical composite filling procedure involves the following:
- First, the decay is cleaned out and the cavity shaped to prepare it for the filling
- Secondly, etch will be applied to the area to eliminate any infection and then rinsed off
- A bond layer will be placed into the hole, which will serve as an undercoat and allow the composite to bond correctly to the tooth; this will then be hardened with ultraviolet light
- Next, the dentist will add different layers of composite and harden each layer with curing light.; the setting time takes only about 30 seconds
- After the composite layering is complete, the dentist will polish the filling properly to blend it with the tooth
The exciting thing about composite filling is that it can be customized to match the color of the teeth. When performed by a skilled dentist, no one will be able to tell the difference.
Does the procedure hurt?
If local anesthesia is used, the patient will not feel any pain during the filling process. The patient may still feel water and air inside their mouth, however. They may also feel the rumbling process of removing the decay. This is normal and should not cause pain.
After the composite filling is complete and the local anesthesia wears off, the tooth may feel slightly sensitive, probably for a few days. The dentist may recommend a sensitivity toothpaste to deal with this.
Composite fillings typically last for about five to seven years, but with proper oral care routine, they can last longer. The great thing about composite is that it can be repaired easily. This means if a part breaks off, the dentist will simply rebuild it instead of performing a new filling entirely. Modern materials and methods have made composite fillings stronger and more durable than they used to be.
If you have a cavity or chipped tooth, the dentist may suggest composite fillings to restore the appearance and function of the tooth. If you want to know more about this restoration, call your dentist to book an appointment.
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