Composite Fillings Explained
A composite (tooth-colored) filling is used to repair a tooth that is affected by decay, cracks, fractures, and more. The decayed or affected portion of the tooth will be removed and then filled with a composite filling.
There are many types of filling materials available, each with its 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 more visible areas of the mouth.
As with most dental restorations, composite fillings are not permanent and may someday have to be replaced. They are very durable and will last many years, giving you a long-lasting, beautiful smile.
What Are The Benefits Of Tooth-Colored Fillings?
Tooth-colored fillings in Houston, TX at Evolution Dentistry offer great benefits over traditional fillings because they:
- Do not change the natural color of the tooth
- Do not contain potentially harmful heavy metals
- Are less likely to cause tooth cracks or breaks
- Can be placed easily and quickly
- Preserve more of your natural tooth
- Cause less tooth sensitivity
- Are extremely durable
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Who is a candidate for tooth-colored fillings?
Composite resin tooth-colored fillings often seal the decay in the tooth after it has been treated by Dr. Kheir. Composite resin is a versatile material that can be used to correct other concerns with your teeth, including chips or enamel that has been worn down by bruxism (teeth grinding). Since the composite resin is colored to match your teeth, tooth-colored fillings may be used on the front and back teeth for a great finish. If you have metal fillings, talk to Dr. Kheir about having them taken out and re-done with composite resin.
How Are Composite Fillings Placed?
Composite fillings are usually placed in one appointment. While the tooth is numb, your dentist will remove decay as needed. 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.
What to Expect After Tooth-Colored Fillings
Patients can return home once treatment is complete, but you may notice some sensitivity to cold and hot temperatures for several days. You may take over-the-counter pain medicine to minimize discomfort, but you should not experience any major issues. Call Evolution Dentistry in Houston, TX if your tooth-colored filling seems to be causing significant pain or feels "uneven" in your mouth. Keep the filling clean with a normal home oral care routine including daily flossing and brushing. Our dental staff can assess your filling during a follow-up appointment to decide if it should be repaired or replaced at any point.
Tooth-Colored Fillings FAQ
Are tooth-colored fillings safer than regular fillings?
Although traditional fillings are made with a mixture (amalgam) of metals, including silver and mercury, they are still generally considered very safe. Tooth-colored fillings are made from a composite resin containing plastic and ceramic and therefore do not contain mercury, which is a heavy metal that can be hazardous to your health.
How long does it take to get a tooth-colored filling?
Depending on which tooth is being treated and the extent of the cavity or damage, a typical tooth-colored filling can be placed in about 30 – 60 minutes at Evolution Dentistry in Houston, TX.
How long do tooth-colored fillings last?
How long your tooth-colored filling will last depends on a number of factors, including your overall oral health. But in general, a tooth-colored filling can last up to 10 years before it may need to be replaced unless it is damaged.
Will my tooth look natural with a tooth-colored filling?
Yes, it will. That's one of the major perks of a tooth-colored filling — it does not affect the natural color of your tooth.