A composite dental filling is a white material used to restore damaged or decayed teeth. The most obvious benefit is that they blend in well with the natural tooth structure for a more aesthetically appealing look. In addition, there are four other advantages of composite fillings:
- It is tooth-colored for a natural appearance
- More durable than silver fillings
- The restoration is strong and flexible
- You can eat after placement (once the numbness has worn off)
What’s the Composite Filling Procedure Like?
Composite fillings are widely used today, in both restorative and cosmetic dentistry. The procedure can be completed in a single office visit with no pain or downtime.
Your dentist will start with local anesthetic applied to the affected tooth and surrounding area. Once you are numbed completed, the decay will be removed with a drill. If it is a good-sized cavity medication may be used to ward off infection.
Then, the white material will be placed in the gap and filed to the desired shape. A curing light is used to harden the filling.
You may have some tooth sensitivity after the filling is placed, but this will subside quickly. Your dentist may suggest you avoid hot foods and drinks until the numbness wears away.
How Long Do Composite Fillings Last on Teeth?
Tooth-colored fillings can be longer lasting than silver amalgams. However, there is no way to know for sure how long a filling will remain intact. But, there are a few ways to aid in the longevity of your composite fillings:
- Proper Dental Care Post-Procedure: A white filling can serve you well for many years with good oral care. Brush your teeth at least twice daily, floss once a day and visit your dentist for routine cleanings and exams. This will help keep your fillings in working order for a very long time.
- Your Dentist’s Level of Expertise: The training, skill, and experience of your dentist are crucial in determining how long your filling will last. A skillfully placed composite filling should blend in seamlessly with your surrounding natural teeth.
- Stress on Tooth: Intense pressure on a tooth can lead to fracture or breakage. How much material is placed, where the composite is placed on the tooth and how much the tooth is used, all factor into how much stress a tooth endures every time you chew or take a bite. Greater pressures mean the higher likelihood of tooth damage.