What is a composite filling?

A composite or “white filling” is synthetic dental material used to replace missing tooth structure after all decay has been removed. Composite dental material are strong enough to be placed in the anterior as well as posterior teeth. It mimics the natural shade of the tooth, so that no one will be able to tell that you had a dental filling in your mouth. Compared to the old, unattractive silver (amalgam) fillings, composite fillings are better cosmetic option. Composites have many shades that can match with your existing tooth color. Our dentist will use a combination of different layers to match the tooth to adjacent teeth. Composite fillings, if well-placed, can last many years compared to amalgam fillings.

Does a filling hurt? 

When the tooth is properly anesthetized, a dental filling will not hurt. Dental decay, when caught in earlier stages of development, is usually in the enamel and dentin. There is some distance away from the nerve which will act as an insulation layer after the composite is placed. Fillings only hurt when the dental caries is to allow gain entry into the nerve. In that case, it is not recommended to do a filling, but instead a root canal therapy to prevent post-operative symptoms.

How is composite filling done? 

The procedure for placing composite is simple. After you are fully anesthetized and dental caries is removed, an etchant gel is placed over the preparation area to chemically roughen up the prepared site. A thin layer of bonding agent, or dental glue, is applied the surface that was recently prepared. A gentle stream of air is blown to allow the bonding agent to spread into a thin layer. The dental light, which specifically made to cure the composite, shines on the area for a few seconds. Our dentist will then gently shape and contour the composite material in an incremental manner to rebuild the tooth morphology. The deeper the cavity preparation, the more composite increments are needed to ensure proper hardening of the fillings. The fillings will be adjusted with dental polishing burs to make sure your fillings are comfortable and hit evenly across all your teeth.

I have silver fillings in my mouth. Does your office remove old silver fillings for aesthetic enhancement?

Yes. With just a single appointment, you can walk out of the dental clinic with an attractive new smile. Dark, silver fillings that were done years ago can now be replaced with tooth-colored, metal-free fillings. Generally, the teeth needs to be anesthetized again. A rubber dam will be placed over the teeth to keep the amalgam from falling into the back of the throat, and also keep the tongue and saliva away from the area. After the amalgam is removed, the preparation site will follow the same steps as for composite placement.

For more information, please call our office at (832) 589-0671 for a consultation.