Composite fillings are aesthetic dental restorations that are used to restore damaged or decayed teeth. They are commonly used to fill small to medium cavities, but can also be used to repair cracked or chipped teeth. Because they can be customized to your tooth’s natural color, they are also commonly referred to as tooth-colored fillings or even white fillings.
Did You Know?
Many people suffering from tooth decay experience tooth sensitivity due to a lack of enamel. When tooth decay occurs, the enamel on your teeth begins to erode, allowing the internal structures of the tooth to be exposed to the elements. This is why you feel pain when eating sweet foods or anything hot and cold. Because fillings “fill” the cavity resulting from tooth decay, they also seal off the tooth and protect it from this exposure, alleviating tooth sensitivity.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Are composite fillings right for me?
Composite fillings may be the right restoration method for you if you have small to medium cavities or damaged teeth and you are looking for an aesthetic restoration option. Possible symptoms that you may need a dental filling include tooth pain, white or brown stains on the teeth, and tooth sensitivity to sweet foods, or hot and cold temperatures. To find out for sure if composite fillings are the right option for you, schedule a consultation with Dr. Ross Quartano and Zach Staples of Magnolia Dentistry today.
What are composite fillings made of?
Composite fillings are made from composite resin, which is a dental material made of ceramic and plastic compound. Although fillings can be made from a variety of dental materials, the two most common materials are composite resin and amalgam. Because amalgam is made from a mix of metals, composite fillings serve as a metal-free filling option.
What can I expect when having a composite filling placed at Magnolia Dental?
To place a composite filling, our dentists will first examine your mouth using a dental probe and dental x-rays in order to diagnose a cavity, as well as its size and location. They will then discuss your symptoms and treatment options with you to determine if a composite filling is the best treatment.
Then, your tooth will need to be prepared for the filling procedure. To prepare your tooth for a composite filling, your mouth will be anesthetized to keep you comfortable during the procedure and possible dental sedation may be used to keep you relaxed. After being made comfortable, a dental dam will be placed over the affected tooth. Dental dams are important because they isolate the affected tooth from the rest of the mouth and ensure that the treatment site stays clean and free from saliva.
Once your tooth has been prepared for the filling procedure, our dentists will begin the procedure by gently drilling away any of the decayed tissue. The remaining cavity will then be shaped accordingly to ensure the filling will remain strong and intact. Next, the cavity will be filled in with the composite resin one layer at a time. Each individual layer will be placed and then hardened using a special curing light. Once the layer has been completely hardened, another layer will be placed over it and so on and so forth. The final layer will be shaped and polished in order to blend in with the rest of your natural tooth structure.
How do I care for my composite filling?
Your composite filling will not require any extra special care outside your usual dental routine. Daily, this means brushing twice for two minutes at a time using fluoridated toothpaste and flossing. Every six months, you will also need to visit Magnolia Dental for your regular dental checkups and professional teeth cleanings.
It is also important to realize that while composite fillings are durable, they are not indestructible. This means that behaviors that can damage your natural teeth can also damage your filling. Possible behaviors that could damage your filling include smoking, nail biting, chewing on hard objects like ice or pens, using your teeth to open packages, and teeth grinding or clenching. If you are a known teeth grinder or clincher, we advise that you be fit for a night guard to protect both your filling and your natural teeth from premature wear.
How long do composite fillings last and what happens after?
Composite fillings generally last for about 5-7 years before they wear down and need to be repaired or replaced. A dental filling will need to be repaired if the wear or damage is minor, however it may need to be replaced if the wear or damage is severe. During a filling repair, the damaged part of the filling is removed and layers of composite resin are added until the damage has been fixed. During a filling replacement, the entire filling is removed, the cavity is reshaped, and another entirely new composite filling is placed. Depending on the extent of wear or damage, one method may be recommended over another.
What is the cost of a composite filling?
On average dental composite fillings can cost approximately $135-$335 per tooth. The exact cost of your composite filling will depend on the location of the filling as well as the size of the filling. For those with dental insurance, there will likely be some level of coverage offered for composite fillings. However, depending on your specific dental insurance plan, the exact amount of coverage can vary. For example, some dental insurance companies will only cover the cost of amalgam fillings, meaning that you would need to pay the difference between the two. Because your specific cost will vary depending on all these factors, we will help you determine the exact cost of your procedure ahead of time so you can make the best financial decision for your oral health.
For the highest quality dental treatments and sincere patient care, schedule a consultation with Dr. Ross Quartano and Zach Staples of Magnolia Dentistry today. Magnolia Dentistry provides dental services to the community of Covington, LA and surrounding areas.