Everything You Need To Know About Composite Fillings

a person has a cavity filled with composite fillings at summit family and cosmetic dentistry

Dentists often recommend filling to halt the damage if a person gets a tooth cavity. Besides getting rid of cavities, some patients get fillings to repair teeth worn down by bruxism. Fillings also help to repair broken or cracked teeth to ensure they function optimally.

Until recent times, dentists have used specially designed metal alloys to fill cavities. But due to advancements in the dental field, modern filling solutions are growing in popularity. Composite fillings combine durability and affordability and bond well to the tooth’s enamel.

Most dental patients in Spokane, WA, prefer composite fillings to traditional metal alloy fillings. The main reasons are that they have a more natural appearance and can be customized to match the shade of the teeth.

What Are Composite Fillings?

Composite fillings are a dental restorative material that comprises a mixture of plastic resin and powdered glass filler. They are versatile and can be used to repair cracked and decayed teeth. Their usefulness extends to other dental restoration procedures, such as the application of veneers and crowns.

Composite fillings resist the development of cavities and can withstand moderate pressure caused by the constant stress of chewing. They also blend in with natural teeth.

The Benefits of Composite Fillings

Most dental patients prefer composite fillings to other options because they address several unique dental issues. They are moldable and quickly bond with the tooth, insulating the sensitive underlying dentine.

Some of the benefits of compound fillings include:

Less Invasive Procedure 

Other dental filling procedures need significant space-creation for implantation, which may involve drilling away large tooth portions. The invasive drilling leads to a weakened tooth structure and possible extended chipping and breaking.

Composite fillings alleviate this issue because the procedure needs light drilling when creating a bonding surface. When bonded with the natural tooth, it forms an outer protective shell that protects the sensitive areas, preventing further tooth damage.

Quick Hardening and Bonding

After placing the filling on the teeth, dentists shine a unique light on the filling, which helps it to harden, thus lessening the bonding time. The reduced bonding time means the procedure is completed in a short period and can be completed in a single visit to the dentist.

Composite filling procedures result in shortened dental appointments because tooth drilling takes a short period. Other filling procedures take more time.

They Are Versatile

Unlike amalgam fillings, composite fillings have a wide range of dental applications. They are used in restorative and cosmetic dental procedures. For instance, they are the go-to solution for fixing cavities, dental cracks, and chipped teeth. They are also ideal for closing gaps between two teeth.

They Strengthen The Tooth Structure

Decayed teeth usually lose some of their structural durability and longevity. Composite fillings bond to the original tooth structure, thus providing added tooth support. Once the bonding material hardens, it results in solid teeth that can withstand added pressure.

Reduced Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity worsens the more the tooth is damaged, which makes taking hot or cold food and beverages unbearable. Composite fillings help to alleviate this problem because the resin bonds with the tooth, insulating it against fluctuating temperatures.

However, dental patients with new composite fillings may still experience mild sensitivity, which subsides over time.

Composite Filling Material Can Is Repairable

Composite fillings will eventually degrade due to wear or accidental damage. The good news is that they are easily repairable via a simple procedure, bringing your smile back. All your dentist has to do is clean the affected area and reapply the composite.

As an added advantage, the repair process might be cheaper than refilling the teeth anew.

The Lifespan of Composite Fillings

The longevity of composite fillings has been in question for many years. Earlier composites fillings had shorter lifespans with higher failure rates. Studies indicate a lifespan of about seven years.

However, taking good care of composite fillings will prolong their durability. Taking good care of composite fillings involves:

  • Maintaining good oral hygiene. Regular dental checkups, brushing, and flossing your teeth after meals will help maintain your smile.
  • Reducing consumption of sugary foods. Sugar may cause erosion of your fillings, leading to new cavities underneath the existing fillings. The new cavities may eventually spread to healthy teeth.
  • Avoid hard-to-chew foods. Biting on hard food like candy and nuts can speed up the wear and tear on your fillings.
  • Reducing the intake of staining beverages. Just like natural teeth, composite fillings are also prone to staining from beverages like tea and coffee.

Adhering to the tips mentioned above will ensure your composite fillings last a long period.

What To Expect During The Composite Filling Procedure

When you visit your dentist for a composite filling, the duration of the procedure will depend on the severity of the cavities. Typical filling sessions last for one session, ranging from 20 to 30 minutes.

The following steps outline what to expect when going for your procedure:

  • Your dentist will help you select your desired shade of composite filling. Matching the shade with your tooth’s color is advisable to avoid awkward looks.
  • The second step is drying and numbing the area at the dentist’s discretion. This step is necessary since drilling out some cavities may be painful. The dentist also injects your gum with a local anesthetic.
  • The drilling process to remove the decayed portions begins.
  • After removing the decay and sterilizing the created space, the dentist will apply the composite filling.
  • After placing and shaping the composite material, the dentist will polish your tooth.

After the procedure, you can confidently show the world your new smile.

Composite fillings prevent your tooth’s enamel from eroding and exposing the nerves beneath. They maintain your tooth’s structure and prevent tooth loss, blend well with the teeth and appear more natural.

Cavities don’t have to ruin your smile. At Summit Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we can restore your tooth with a customized filling that looks natural and protects your oral health. Contact our Spokane, WA, practice to schedule your consultation today.