Composite Fillings: Everything You Need to Know

Family Dentist in Madison

Dental Fillings in Madison, AL

Everything You Need to Know About Composite Fillings

If you’ve ever had a cavity, then you’re probably familiar with dental fillings. This dental procedure is a form of restorative dentistry that can help restore the function of your tooth. Although many of us hear the words “dental filling” and shrink back in fear of pain and discomfort, this procedure is quite effective and helpful to those who need it.

So, what is a composite filling? A composite dental filling is a filling that is designed to blend in with your natural tooth. While many people have noticeable silver or gold fillings, a composite filling is made from resin to help blend it to your natural tooth color. The damaged area of your tooth will be grooved out and then filled with the resin composite filling.

Composite fillings can not only help restore your tooth to its proper function, but it also helps to restore your smile cosmetically. With a composite filling, you can’t even tell there was ever any damage to the affected tooth. This is one of the many services we offer at our Madison dentist office. To learn more about composite fillings keep reading.

When Do You Need a Filling?

You will need a filling if your tooth has a cavity or tooth decay. Fillings are considered the procedure for minimal tooth decay, as inlays and onlays will be used for moderate decay and dental crowns will be used for extensive decay or damage.

You may need a filling or other restorative procedure if the integrity and usage of your tooth have been compromised. Many times, if you’re dealing with a cavity or tooth decay, you will experience pain and won’t be able to chew with the affected tooth.

When you get a filling, the tooth decay will be removed, and the area will be filled in with strong durable material. This material will be bonded to the existing tooth, restoring it to its proper function.

How do Fillings Work?

Fillings work in a number of ways. Firstly, when you get a fillings procedure, the decay will be drilled out and removed from your tooth. This will keep the decay from getting worse and spreading to other areas of the tooth.

Next, the dentist will paint on and fill your tooth with the composite material used to make the filling. Since the decayed area of the tooth was drilled out and then filled, this will keep bacteria from getting into the susceptible area. This will prevent further tooth decay in the tooth.

Lastly, the composite material will be bonded to the existing tooth by using ultra-violet light. The bonding helps to make the tooth’s structure stronger. The tooth is being joined with a solid and strong material. This will help to return the tooth to its proper function.

If you have any other questions about how exactly fillings work, contact our Madison dentist today! Our staff is dedicated to providing clients with a comfortable and informative experience.

What Materials Are Used in Composite Fillings?

Composite fillings are made out of resin, which is a plastic material used in many dental procedures. Resin is also used in dental bonding, as it allows the bonding to match the existing tooth.

This composite material is painted onto the tooth then bonded and harden with ultra-violet light. This material is popular for dental procedures as it forms a long-lasting durable structure that can match the natural color of the teeth.

Although the resin used in composite fillings can’t be whitened, the dentist will compare a shade guide to your teeth to find the color resin to use in order to blend the filling with your existing teeth.

Alternatives To Composite Fillings?

There are alternative materials that can be used when it comes to getting a filling. While composite fillings are usually the cheapest option for filling material, many people choose other materials for durability.

Other popular materials that can be used for fillings are silver, gold, and porcelain. Some insurances may only cover certain materials. To find out the best material for your filling, talk to your insurance carrier and your dentist.

Alternative procedures that compare to fillings are dental inlay and onlays and dental crowns. Each one of these procedures deal with a different level of tooth decay. Fillings will handle the basic levels of decay and can be used to halt decay before it gets worse.

Dental inlays and onlays have characteristics of both a filling and a crown. An inlay will fill the drilled out area of tooth, but also provide a bonded covering like a crown. The inlay will cover portions of the chewing part of the tooth. This procedure deals with moderate tooth decay.

A dental crown deals with the most extensive tooth decay. A dental crown will require the majority of the tooth’s surface area to be removed. Next, the tooth will be covered with a cap or a crown to protect it from the attacks of bacteria and acid.

Do Fillings Hurt?

While a filling procedure isn’t as complex as a dental crown procedure, there are still some technical aspects that your dentist will have to do. You will be given an anesthetic to help numb the tooth that the dentist will be working on. This anesthetic is usually administered as a shot injected into the gums near the affected tooth. 

Once you have the anesthetic, the procedure should be painless. If you are nervous about the procedure, you can look into a dentist that offers sedation dentistry. These dentists will administer a sedative to help you cope with the nerves that come with dental procedures.

Talk to your Madison dentist ahead of time so you can know what to expect before you walk into your fillings procedure.

More Questions About Composite Fillings:

How Long Do Composite Fillings Last?

Composite fillings can last 5 – 10+ years. Eventually, your composite filling can fall out of your tooth and will need to be replaced. Practicing good oral hygiene habits can help increase the longevity of your fillings. Routinely brushing and flossing your teeth with remove any bacteria or plaque from forming. Attend regular dental visits so that your dentist can check your fillings and see the quality of them.

Stay away from acidic or sugary food, as this type of food can cause the composite filling to wear much faster. If you have a filling that falls out, it’s important to schedule a dentist’s appointment as soon as possible. Without the filling protecting the susceptible area of the tooth, bacteria can take root and cause more problems.

 Are Composite Fillings Strong?

Composite fillings are strong and durable; this type of filling has a very high success rate and a long lifespan. However, there are other filling material options that provide more strength and durability.

Porcelain and gold fillings are much harder than composite fillings. They are more successful at restoring the tooth to its proper function due to its durable structure. Porcelain fillings will usually last longer than composite fillings and can withstand more trauma.

Overall, a composite filling is a good choice if you want a strong and successful filling; however, there are materials that can give your tooth even more structural integrity.

Do Composite Fillings Stain?

Composite fillings can stain if you drink a lot of coffee or if you use tobacco products. It’s important to remember that a composite filling cannot be whitened. When you get the filling procedure done, the dentist will use a shade guide to match the composite filling material with your natural tooth color.

If you’re a coffee drinker, getting a composite filling doesn’t necessarily mean you have to stop drinking all coffee; instead, avoid drinking dark coffee multiple times a day.

How Do I Know If I Need a Dental Filling?

If you have a tooth that has decay, you can experience tooth sensitivity to cold or hot foods. You may experience pain when chewing and a black or darkened spot will be noticeable on your tooth. To get the full diagnosis, visit your dentist to decide which dental procedure would be best for you.

There are a few procedures the dentist may recommend depending on the amount of decay your tooth has experienced. The most common procedures include fillings, inlays or onlays, or crowns. It’s important to visit your dentist as soon as you notice a problem so that you can take care of the decay before it gets worst.

We hope this article answered all your questions about composite fillings. To learn more about this procedure, visit our composite fillings service page.


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Madison Family Dentist

Madison Family Dentist

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12205 County Line Rd, Suite A
Madison, AL 35758

(256) 772-9988

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