What are white, or composite, dental fillings?
A composite filling is one of the types of dental seals that has gained popularity in recent years. The white fillings, as we commonly know them, are made of artificial materials. The composites used to fill the cavities can be color-matched to the color of your teeth, which is why they look very natural. Due to its color-adjusting properties, the filling material can be applied in treating teeth located in the back of the jaw and the front section. The composites are light-cured, which means that they are prepared in special tubes with a consistency similar to modeling clay. After placing the material in the patient’s cavity, our dentist irradiates the tooth with a specialized polymerization lamp, which causes the composite to harden. Composite fillings are continually being researched by scientists, thanks to which doctors can now choose from many types of composites that have different properties.
When choosing a composite filling, remember that they do not protect your teeth permanently. Composite fillings should be replaced on average every five to six years, although their durability is estimated at approximately ten years. The fillings may become discolored over time, especially when consuming large amounts of coffee, tea, or tobacco products.
What can I expect during the procedure?
After an appropriate dental exam is performed and necessary x-ray images are taken, you are ready for the dental filling procedure. The process of caries removal and cavity filling consists of several stages, which can be presented as follows:
Anesthesia of the patient
Currently, in most cases, the dentist can offer the patient the possibility of anesthesia before drilling. Local anesthesia is usually applied before the procedure starts. Anesthesia is most often administered by injection and begins to have an effect after a few minutes. About two hours after the treatment, the numbing subsides, and your proper speech and other functions return to full efficiency.
Cleaning the tooth from decay, food debris, and saliva
With the use of special drills, the dentist removes the tooth tissue affected by decay, along with food debris and saliva. This stage is a key element in the treatment of teeth. If caries removal is performed carelessly, there is a high probability of recurrence of the problem, which may have worse and more challenging to deal with consequences.
Placing the foundation
At this stage, our dentist places a rubber dam followed by various adhesives on the bottom of a deep cavity, whose task is to isolate the tooth pulp from the composite filling. If this process is skipped, the filling can put pressure on the nerves, consequently causing severe discomfort for the patient. Most importantly, the isolation prevents moisture from meddling with the bonding process.
Filling the cavity
During this phase, the doctor places the composite material on the prepared tooth. The filling may involve several layers, each being individually light-cured to harden it properly.
Matching the filling to the patient’s bite
At the very end, the dentist assesses whether the composite filling fits the dental structure, adjusting it to your bite.
Benefits of composite dental fillings
Composite fillings are very often used because they have many advantages indicated by dentists. The most frequently mentioned benefits include:
- Good tightness of composites – Composites adhere very tightly to the teeth, thus significantly reducing the risk of food residues getting into the sealed cavities.
- High resistance – composites are very durable with a minimized risk of damage.
- Aesthetics of composites – matching the filling to the color of your teeth is one of the most frequently mentioned benefits by both patients and dentists. After the treatment, the teeth look natural, and the fillings are practically invisible.
- Composite is a very safe material to fill a patient’s cavities.
- When shaping the filling material, the dentist saves a significant part of healthy tooth tissue – a considerable advantage of composites is that there is no need to remove a large portion of the tooth to fit the applied material.
If you are experiencing tooth pain that may indicate potential decay, do not hesitate to contact our office. We strive to provide urgent and effective treatment to prevent further oral disease and eliminate the dreadful discomfort associated with toothache.