If you have a cavity, don’t wait until you lose your tooth. Instead, visit your dentist right away. A cavity is a manageable dental issue; you can restore the damaged tooth. You may treat the cavity in a single dental appointment. Most small and medium cavities will be effectively treated using composite fillings procedure. 

Your dental expert will numb your mouth and take out the damaged part of the tooth. The dentist will then fill the hallowed surface using a composite filling. The procedure is usually safe, although it has a few potential risks. The fillings are tooth-colored, and your dentist will fit them within a single appointment. At Washington Dental, we provide dental services, including composite filling, to our clients seeking services in Lomita, CA. So if you want to undergo a composite filling procedure, visit our dentists now.

What is Composite Filling?

A composite filling is an outpatient procedure aimed at treating chipped teeth and tooth decay. Usually, a dental filling involves treating dental cavities using varied types of materials based on affordability, ease, and compatibility. In a composite filling, the dentist uses resin materials to restore oral health. The filling is used as a traditional amalgam fillings alternative. The filling is a tooth-colored material that blends your natural teeth, making it the best way of treating dental cavities.

Type of Material Contained in a Composite Filling

Varied material may be used when composite fillings depending on the patients' compatibility, availability, and affordability. However, the common components used in composite fillings include gold, silver amalgam (which involves mercury mixed with copper, zinc, tin, tooth-colored, and composite resin fillings).

Also, the dentist may use another material that has glass particles known as glass ionomers. Note, the filling material to be used when restoring your tooth will highly be determined by the extent of your tooth decay and the cost of the filling material.

When Does You Need Composite Fillings?

If your teeth are becoming hollow or decayed, you want to fill them with composite fillings. A composite filling is an excellent dental treatment procedure that will help address the following teeth:

  • Decayed teeth
  • Worn teeth
  • Hollow teeth
  • Chipped teeth
  • Broken teeth
  • Space between your teeth
  • Cracked teeth

The Procedure of Composite Filling

The fitting dental composite may vary from patient to patient. For instance, several patient cases may involve placing the composite resin. Again, a patient may require tooth restoration for multiple teeth while another may require filing for one tooth. Also, a patient may fill the tooth due to fracture, while another may fill due to tooth decay. Therefore, your dentist will consider the following steps when fitting the composite fillings.

Shade Selection

Composite fillings come in different colors, and your dentist will choose an appropriate one for the restoration. Your dental expert will use a shade guide to see the shade that matches your tooth being restored.

  • The dentist will hold each sample tab next to your tooth and compare the color.
  • The dentist will choose different colors for various layers (surface vs. internal) or portions (biting edge vs. the tooth’s body) of the restoration.

Cleaning the Targeted Tooth

The composite filling cannot strongly bond to your tooth’s surface unless it's clean. So, your dentist will polish the tooth and remove any debris like dental tartar and plaque.

Tooth Drilling and Trimming

The quantity of tooth shaping may vary due to certain restorations. Little or no trimming will be required for several applications like repair of a minor chip, closing a tooth gap, veneering the surface of your tooth’s front. The tooth surface where the bonding will take place will be mostly your enamel. In other situations, like where the restoration is done due to tooth decay, tooth drilling will be extensive.

Acid Etching on the Tooth Surface

After drilling and trimming the tooth surface, the actual bonding process begins. First, the tooth’s surface is etched with an acidic tooth conditioner. Usually, the tooth conditioner is a gel. It contains around 40% phosphoric acid.

The dentist spreads the conditioner over the tooth surface, where the bonding will take place. The dentist will let the conditioner sit for around fifteen seconds and then wash it thoroughly. After cleaning the surface, the tooth will have been ready to receive the bonding.

Applying Bonding Agents

The dental expert will now paint the bonding agents on the tooth surface using a brush. Sometimes, the dentist will blow air over the tooth’s surface to ensure the bonding agent is dispersed as a thin layer over the entire tooth.

Curling the Tooth’s Bonding Agents

After applying the bonding agents, the dental expert shines a curing light over it. The curing light activates a catalyst in your bonding agent, thus hardening it. The exposure will take around twenty-second.

There have been advancements in the way bonding agents and merchants are used and formulated. Several new systems incorporate the conditioner with the bonding agent right away. This means there will not be watching and washing steps, but the bonding agents will be placed on your tooth without prior etching.

Applying Composite Restorative/Creating the Restoration

After establishing the initial bonding with the tooth surface, the dentist adds a layer of dental composite to give your tooth shape. When adding the layers, they will create a chemical bond with the bonding agents placed. Composite is well known for putty consistency. Therefore, your dentist will use it in small portions and gently put it into its place until the restorative part gains the needed shapes.

Curing the Dental Composite

After positioning and sculpting the dental composite to satisfaction, the dentist will initiate the same light they used to fix the bonding agents. Usually, the patient will require ten to forty seconds of exposure to the curing light. The amount of curing light utilized will depend on several things like:

  • The light’s intensity
  • The composite layer’s thickness

Building the restoration

If the shape isn’t complete after placing the composite, the dentist will then add another layer. Each layer has a limit of 2 mm of thickness. As the dentist places the layers, they cure them before placing the next layer.

Bulk Fill Composites

When large fillings are chosen, the dentist may opt to apply the bulk-fill composites. The products come with a layer thickness of about 5 mm and require a curing time of around 20 seconds. Although it’s a newer case of restorative, it's comparatively less tested compared to traditional ones. But, again, many brands don’t have a wide range of tooth colors.

Shaping and Trimming the Restorations

The dentist will use grit stones, strips, burs, and discs until a shiny and smooth polish is achieved. Your dentist will more likely give you a mirror and ask your opinion. Again, everyone in the office (patients, assistants, and dentists) will look at you from an angle and notice anything which the other doesn’t see. Above all, it’s your tooth, and your opinion will significantly matter. Don’t fear to provide your opinion concerning the fillings.

Your Dentist Will Observe Your Bite

Although the composite placement is complete, the dentist needs to check your bite. First, he/she will evaluate how your teeth come together and if they will interrupt your mouth motion. For example, the dentist may place a piece of carbon paper between your teeth and ask you to close and make a motion. The carbon paper will make a mark on the points where your opposing teeth touch. If the dentist observes marks on the restoration, he/she will adjust the bonding thickness until they are in a proper form.

The Final Polishing

After adjusting everything, your dentist will give the new filing a final polishing and buffing. Once the dentist does this, it becomes ready for use. To ensure the filling is ready for use, the dentist will do the following:

  • Numb the Tooth

A tooth bonding involves a lot of application, and in most cases, a local anesthetic may not be needed. With a few cosmetic procedures, the dentist will require little or no trimming. While in other cases, like in tooth decay, the dentist will require extensive shaping and local anesthesia.

  • Isolation of the Tooth

Most of the above steps are conducted under dry conditions. This means the teeth being worked on should remain free from blood or saliva. By failing to do so, you will compromise the composite treatment procedures. So, the dentist will come with a way of isolating the tooth. The isolation may either be:

  • A simple way of placing cotton rolls around your tooth
  • The dentist may stretch the rubber sheet around the targeted tooth.

How to Care a New Composite Fillings

As mentioned above, composite fillings are essential in the restoration of fractured or decayed teeth. But, you must take utmost care towards them to ensure you receive comprehensive services. To help care for your composite fillings, your dental expert will recommend you observe the following precautions:

  • Be Attentive When Brushing Your Teeth

Usually, your dentist will recommend you use a soft-bristled toothbrush as you brush your teeth. After receiving the dental fillings, you have to brush them regularly and be extra careful with the new fillings. It might be particularly deep or tender- meaning the filling lies close to your gum line. Also, please do the same for flossing; it's recommended you floss your mouth after receiving the composite fillings.

Generally, ensure you observe oral hygiene. The tooth is essential and may still be re-infected by the bacteria. To protect the reinfection, gently clean the teeth as you take care of the composite fillings.

  • Be Mindful

Remember, your dentist may apply anesthesia to make the procedure a pleasant one. So, it might take several hours before you regain sensation. Thus, you want to be extra mindful when you take actions like clenching, nail-biting, chewing ice, or grinding to avoid irritating the surface or accidentally causing injuries in your mouth. All these actions affect the fillings but may cause the tooth to fracture, ensuring you avoid them.

  • Consider What You Eat and Drink

After receiving the composite fillings:

  1. Ensure you eat using the opposite side of your mouth as the filling settles.
  2. Don’t direct your bite directly on the surface as you may feel tender.
  3. Again, keep off from highly colored foods and drinks. The foods or beverages may discolor and stain the fillings.

So, if you take highly colored drinks and foods, they will easily stain and discolor the filing.

  • Contact Your Dentist Immediately When the Fillings Become Loose

Your dental expert will do everything to ensure they file down the rough edges on your fillings. However, it's normal to notice small bits or residue of fillings after the procedure. But, if you see more significant portions of the composite fillings in your mouth after the process, it’s recommended you share the news with your dentist immediately for them to take quick action.

  • Use Mouth Guard to Protect the Tooth

If you are an athlete practicing many physical activities or suffering night grinding, ensure you wear a mouth guard to protect the teeth from damage. Discuss it with your dentist, and they will guide you on how to wear the mouth guard.

  • Visit Your Dentist Regularly for Professional Check-ups

It’s good to safeguard a good relationship with your dentist. Visiting the dentist as the fillings become stable is a good idea. The dentist will observe and evaluate the progress of the teeth with the fillings. Scheduling appointments with your dentist will enable them to detect any issue early and address it on time, so you will solve problems that might otherwise affect you in the future.

Benefits of Composite Filling

Most people and dentists prefer using composite filling due to its numerous advantages. The fillings are tooth-colored. Also, they fix several cosmetic issues, such as chips and cracks. In addition, the fillings are best for use in both back and front teeth. Below are the advantages of using composite filling in your tooth;

Composite Fillings Don’t Require Much Drilling Like Other Types of Dental Filling

A minor portion of the tooth is removed before placing Composite fillings on your tooth. After lacing the filling on your tooth, they bond strongly to it and result in a solid overall tooth.

Composite Filling Bond With Your Existing Tooth

The composite fillings will bond with your tooth surface. Also, the composite resin fillings constitute two varieties, the overlays and on lays. First, the dentist prepares your tooth and then puts a bonding agent into your tooth. Finally, the dentist inserts the on lay, which hardens and bonds to your existing tooth. Again the only provides additional strength for the bonding.

The Fillings Harden Within a Short Duration

After placing composite fillings in your tooth, the dentist places a certain kind of light on the composite fillings. The light assists in shortening the time which the bonding agent takes before hardening. The filling is hardened and cured within a few seconds. Therefore, you can eat after leaving the dental experts' office. However, you should avoid chewing in the area with composite fillings for 2 hours after having your cavity repaired.

Composite Fillings Can be Used to Fix Cracks and Chips

If you have cracks in your tooth, composite fillings can be used to fix them. The filling comes with a durable and tooth-colored appearance that makes them suitable for fixing cracks and chips in your front teeth. Again, you may use the fill-in creating veneers that help in giving your teeth a white appearance.

The Fillings Have Fewer Instances of Tooth Sensitivity

After using composite filling, be sure that your teeth will not be sensitive. The fillings insulate your tooth against cold and hot temperatures. Only a few instances will the patient report mild tooth sensitivity after receiving the composite fillings.

They Look More Pleasing As They Match With Tooth Appearance and Tooth Color

Composite fillings have white tooth color, which looks better than other filling types. If you are looking to achieve a bright and white smile, you need composite fillings. A white composite will blend well with your other teeth. With composite fillings, nobody will have an idea; you have fillings on your teeth.

You May Repair The Filling

When your filling starts degrading, it can be repaired. Again, Incase your composite fillings wear out after chewing hard items or non-food substances, they can be replaced or repaired. When you experience signs like visible cracks in the filling or tooth sensitivity, you want to repair or replace your composite fillings.

To repair composite filling, the dentist will remove the damaged part of the composite filling and then reshape the remaining filling. Then the l dental expert will place the layers of the filling over the filling then hardened using a curing light.

You Can Use Composite Filling in Replacing Traditional Amalgam Fillings

Do you want to replace your old amalgam with composite fillings? Don’t worry. Our Washington Dental experts will help you replace them in a single dental appointment. Composite fillings are tooth-colored and more appealing. Amalgam fillings are not the best since they contain a mixture of silver, copper and mercury. Fix your dental issues today with the new composite fillings. They are tooth-like colored, resistant to wear and fracture as well as durable. Also, they will help do away with mercury in your mouth and maintain a bright smile.

Potential Risks With Composite Fillings

There are risks associated with composite fillings. Generally, they are considered the best, safe and effective. When all steps for fixing the fixing are not carefully followed, it may result in risks. Again, when exposed to intensive chewing or chewing non-food items, the filling may crack. Below are potential risks associated with composite fillings.

  • They May Wear Out If You Spend Much Time Chewing or Grinding

When the dental expert seals your cavity well and polishes the white filling, it doesn't stain easily even after consuming red wine and coffee. However, chewing hard items like pen caps and crunchy food like hard candies may pressure your teeth. Over time, the composite fillings and your teeth may become damaged. Again, regular tooth clenching or grinding puts a lot of pressure on the teeth, increasing the risk of damaging your dental fillings. Therefore, after fixing composite filling on your teeth, do not chew non-food items or hard items, including pencils, nutcrackers, and toothpicks. They may lead to excessive wearing out and damage to the fillings.

  • They are Labor Intensive When the Dentist Places Them on Your Tooth

Fitting composite fillings in your tooth requires intensive labor. The dentist makes your tooth numb using a local anesthetic, cleans the cavity then removes all the decay in your tooth. The dentist then seals the clean cavity with a bonding agent that seals the exposed tooth structure and allows the composite filling to bond. Again, the dentist places the filling material in layers and sets each layer with a high-intensity light. Finally, the dental expert checks the bite for any high spots, then polishes it to become smooth like your natural teeth.

What is the LifeSpan of Composite Fillings?

You may wonder how long the filling will benefit you. Usually, several factors will affect the longevity of your composite filling, like your dental hygiene, eating habits, and the type of material used in the composite fillings. Often composite fillings will last between five and fifteen years.

What are the Approximate Costs of Composite Fillings?

Unlike other filing metals, gold, and silver in color, composite filling’s color matches your teeth. So, the cost of the composite fillings is much higher. Although the costs are high, it doesn’t mean a patient can’t afford them. If you seek to use composite fillings, you will expect to pay between $135 and $240 per tooth. The cost is only higher than an amalgam filling by around $40. Most insurance covers pay the total costs for amalgam fillings. But, if you are going composite fillings, you will only pay the different costs of around $40.

Find a Dentist Near Me

Are you seeking a composite filling service in Lomita, CA? Contact Washington Dental, learn more and schedule a visit today. Our dental experts provide numerous dental services, like composite fillings. We will review your past dental history and determine whether you are the right candidate for composite fillings. Call us today at 310-217-1507.