Composite fillings are a type of direct restoration used to restore teeth with small to medium dental cavities. They are made from dental composite resin, which can easily be colored and molded to match the surrounding tooth structure. Due to their appearance, they are also sometimes known as tooth-colored fillings or white fillings. Their coloration allows for a decayed tooth to be restored while still retaining its natural appearance. Additionally, composite fillings help to preserve the natural tooth structure and can last for years if well cared for.
The dental material used for composite fillings has many uses. In addition to being used for dental fillings, it can also be used to make composite veneers, as well as for cosmetic bonding treatments to repair minor cracks and chips.
You may be a candidate for a composite filling if you have a small to medium sized dental cavity. Composite fillings work well to restore teeth with minor tooth decay, however more severe tooth decay may require another restoration method. To determine if you are an ideal candidate for a composite filling, schedule a consultation with Dr. Alina Huang DDS at your Midtown Manhattan dental office today.
When having a composite filling placed, you can expect your dentist to anesthetize your mouth. They will begin the procedure by removing any decayed tissue and possibly shaping the area. Then, your dentist will apply the composite resin in layers, hardening each layer before placing the next.
While the composite resin is being applied, it is essential that your tooth stays dry, so they may also use dental suction, cotton, or a dental dam to keep the area free from saliva. The final layer of composite resin will be molded so that it blends in with the surrounding tooth structure. Since composite fillings are direct restorations that can be completed entirely in the mouth, they only require a single appointment for placement.
After your composite filling has been placed, you will have no special guidelines to follow since the filling was completely hardened during the placement procedure. However, it is recommended to refrain from eating until your mouth is no longer numb to avoid accidentally biting your cheeks or tongue.
When well cared for, you can expect your composite filling to last around 5-7 years. To care for your composite filling, you will simply need to care for it by practicing good oral hygiene. This means brushing twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste and flossing daily. Additionally, you will need to schedule regular dental visits every six months for your teeth cleaning and exam.
Another way to care for your filling is to prevent it from becoming damaged. This means avoiding damaging behaviors such as nail biting, chewing on ice, using your teeth as tools, and grinding or clenching your teeth. You will also want to take care when eating foods that are exceptionally hard, crunchy, sticky, or chewy.
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