Composite (Tooth Colored) Fillings

In the world of modern, high tech dentistry, there are several materials that can be used to restore a tooth including: composites, porcelains, and gold. These materials are used because of their strength, longevity, and aesthetics. At Agnini Family Dental, we do not place silver/amalgam fillings because they are subject to failure. Over time the amalgam may separate from the tooth allowing saliva and bacteria to get underneath the filling and cause decay. Keep in mind that the stronger materials last longer and, while the initial investment is somewhat more than silver amalgam, you will have the peace of mind that your tooth is restored with great durability and pleasing aesthetics.

A composite (tooth colored) filling is used to repair a tooth that is affected by decay, cracks, fractures, etc. The decayed or affected portion of the tooth will be removed and then filled with a composite filling. Because composite fillings are tooth colored, they can be closely matched to the color of existing teeth, and are more aesthetically suited for use in front teeth or the more visible areas of the teeth.

As with most dental restorations, composite fillings are not permanent and may someday have to be replaced. They are however very durable, and will last many years, giving you a long lasting, beautiful smile.

Reasons for composite fillings:

  • Chipped teeth
  • Closing space between two teeth
  • Cracked or broken teeth
  • Decayed teeth
  • Worn teeth

How are composite fillings placed?

Composite fillings are usually placed in one appointment. While the tooth is numb, your doctor will remove decay as necessary. The space will then be thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared before the new filling is placed. If the decay is near the nerve of the tooth, a special medication will be applied for added protection. The composite filling will then be precisely placed, shaped, and polished, restoring 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 should subside shortly after your tooth acclimates to the new filling.

You will be given care instructions at the conclusion of your treatment. Good oral hygiene practices, eating habits, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new fillings.

How long do composite fillings last?

Not that long ago, all fillings were either silver amalgam or gold. But those days are over. At Agnini Family Dental, we use predominantly composite resin fillings. Sometimes called “white fillings,” these fillings, made of a combination of plastic and glass, have become more and more durable with technological improvements in resin strength.

So, how long will your tooth-colored fillings last? The answer isn’t cut and dried. Earlier resins had a shorter lifespan and there was a question of strength. But today’s composite resins are just as strong as old silver amalgam, and they are more reliable. Plus they now last just as long, an average of 7 to 10 years.

Factors that affect a filling’s longevity are the size of the filling, the location on the tooth and in the mouth, if you clench or grind your teeth, your dietary choices, and, most of all, your home hygiene. If you’re diligent with your home care —brushing twice daily for two minutes and flossing once daily — there is a much better chance you will get the maximum lifespan out of your fillings…not to mention your teeth without fillings!