A composite is a tooth-coloured filling used to repair a tooth affected by decay, cracks and fractures to improve your smile. The decayed or affected portion of the tooth is first removed and the cavity is then filled with composite.
Composite fillings are widely used because they can be closely matched to the colour of the existing teeth. Modern composite fillings are highly durable and resistant to wear. They can be used to restore both the front and back teeth, giving you a long lasting, natural-appearing smile.
Composite fillings are indicated for:
- Chipped or broken teeth
- Spacing between teeth
- Decayed teeth
- Worn teeth
Composite fillings are usually placed in one appointment. The area is first numbed and the tooth isolated. Your dentist removes any decay present if necessary. The prepared surface is then thoroughly cleaned. If decay is present near the nerve of the tooth, a special medication will be applied for added protection. An etching solution containing acid is then applied over the cavity surface to create micro-irregularities. After thoroughly washing and drying, a liquid bonding agent is applied to create a mechanical bond with the irregular surface and a chemical bond with the composite to be placed. After appropriately matching the tooth shade, the composite is then filled into the cavity in increments and cured or hardened with a special hand held light. It is finally polished to restore 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 becomes used to the new filling.
After the procedure, you will be given proper care instructions. Good oral hygiene practices, eating habits, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new fillings.
- Composite fillings are natural appearing restorations
- Less tooth removal is necessary during preparation
- A strong chemical bond is achieved
- A filling can easily be repaired by adding more composite material. Retreatment may be necessary after 5-7 years
Risks and Complications
Composite fillings are usually well tolerated and provide a good cosmetic result. However, occasional complications do occur such as:
- Increased sensitivity to hot or cold
- Improper shade selection
- Discoloration at margins