For the past several years, as their properties have continually improved, many dentists have been using only bonded fillings, also known as “composites” or “tooth colored” fillings.
Whereas patients like the bonded composite fillings because it eliminates the need for silver amalgams and, therefore, has a much more esthetic appearance, we see great advantage to the bonded fillings. The true advantage of the composite material is that due to its bonding properties, it allows dentists to be much more conservative in how we fix cavities. Composite fillings require much less drilling away of natural tooth structure.
A composite 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.
Reasons for composite fillings:
How are composite fillings placed?
Composite fillings are usually placed in one appointment. Although small cavities, especially on the biting surfaces of teeth often do not require “novocaine”, larger cavities, or those in-between teeth must be numb. 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 and cured with a high intensity light. The filling is then shaped and polished, restoring your tooth to its original shape and function.
Occasionally, in the case of deep cavities, there may be some sensitivity to hot and cold when composite fillings are first placed, however this will subside shortly after your tooth acclimates to the new filling.
Children can be rough on fillings, but good oral hygiene practices, eating habits, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new fillings.