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Composite Fillings

What is a filling?

A filling is a way to restore a tooth damaged by decay (cavities) back to its normal function and shape, it is usually recommended when the cavity has not invaded the entire tooth yet. When a dentist gives you a filling, he or she will need to remove the decayed portion of the damaged tooth, and then the affected area will be cleaned out and will be filled with a composite material. By closing off spaces where bacteria can enter, a filling also helps prevent further decay.

What is composite material?

Composite is a material used for fillings, it is a plastic and glass mixture that can be made of different tooth color shades used to restore decayed teeth. The dentist or a registered dental assistant will take the shade color of your tooth to choose the right color for the composite material that will be used on your filling. Composites are also used for cosmetic improvements of the smile by changing the color of the teeth or reshaping disfigured teeth.

Why do we need fillings?

People need a filling when tooth decay is present. The reason why doctors treat cavities as soon as they are found is because once decay has started the cavity will continue to get worse. At first it may not even hurt, but eventually it will start to hurt. As the process advances, in some cases it creates abscesses which lead to expensive and bigger treatments such as onlays, crowns, root canals, or even worse – extractions. If you consider saving money, fillings will also save the patient time AND money by avoiding the need for inlays/onlays, crowns, or root canal therapy.

What to expect on a composite filling?

When it’s time to fill your cavity, the dentist will numb the area first by using topical anesthetic gel and then he will be using local anesthesia.

Once the area surrounding the cavity is numb, your dentist will remove the decayed tissue. Most patients report that the procedure is essentially painless.

Once the decayed material is removed, your dentist will clean out any debris and place the filling in the cavity. If the cavity is deep, your dentist may place a liner over the cavity before placing the filling to protect the tooth nerve.

When the filling is in place, the dentist will clean and polish it. Your lips and gum area will be numb for the first few hours. Some tooth sensitivity is normal during the first few weeks after a filling. You might also want to avoid extremely hot or cold foods. If the sensitivity persists after a few weeks, you must contact your dentist.