Composite fillings are used to fill in small or medium cavities left by dental decay. They are considered a direct restoration and are entirely fabricated in the mouth during a single dental appointment. This type of filling uses a dental material called composite resin, which starts soft and is hardened in layers to mimic the shape of the tooth. Additionally, composite resin can be colorless, white, or matched to the exact color of the tooth. For this reason, they are sometimes referred to as white or tooth-colored fillings.
Did You Know?
Composite fillings are one of the most common choices for dental fillings due to their ability to preserve the natural tooth structure, their aesthetic appearance, and their affordable cost.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Do I need a composite filling?
You may need a composite filling if you are experiencing symptoms of tooth decay such as tooth sensitivity or pain. Additionally, your dentist may diagnose a cavity during your regular dental exam that may need to be restored using a composite filling. Composite fillings are ideal for those who want to maintain the visual aesthetics of their smile or for those who have metal allergies.
How is a composite filling placed at my Hemet dental office?
Your Hemet dental office places composite fillings by first using dental anesthetics to numb the treatment area. This ensures your procedure is pain-free and comfortable. Varying levels of dental sedation can also be used if requested to alleviate dental anxiety.
As mentioned before, composite fillings are direct restorations that are entirely fabricated in the mouth. What this means for you is that your composite filling can be placed in a single dental appointment that lasts about an hour. This also means that composite fillings are cheaper than other restoration methods because they do not require a dental lab.
When placing a composite filling, your Hemet dentist will begin by removing any decayed tissue. The remaining tissue will then be prepared for the the filling by being shaped and brushed with an acidic solution to etch the enamel and encourage stronger bonding. Finally, the composite resin will be placed and hardened in layers. The last layer will be polished and shaped so that it looks like natural tooth surface.
What happens after my composite filling is placed?
After your composite filling is placed, your mouth may remain numb for a few hours. Depending on how your body metabolizes the anesthetic, the numbness can last for about 1-5 hours after the filling has been placed. During this time, you should avoid eating or exercise extreme caution to make sure you are not biting your cheeks. After your mouth regains feeling, there are no other post-treatment guidelines to worry about.
How long do composite fillings last?
Composite fillings last an average of 5-7 years. However, this estimate is dependent upon patient compliance with regular oral care. To keep your composite filling in good condition, you will need to brush twice a day, floss once a day, and visit your local Hemet dental office every six months for your dental appointment. Additionally the size and location of the filling can affect its lifespan since certain locations can receive more stress than others.