Dental Services /

Composite Fillings

A composite filling is a restoration procedure for treating a tooth with decay or a broken or cracked tooth. They are tooth-coloured dental fillings that mimic the appearance of natural teeth and an excellent choice for dental restoration if there is enough tooth structure to support it.

Composite fillings or white fillings have replaced the previously used silver or amalgam (mercury-based) fillings as the preferred material to restore limited lost tooth structure. They are comprised of plastic resins that are initially soft, but after a short exposure to the blue range of the light spectrum, they acquire its full strength. The composite resin hardens into a very strong material that looks very much like part of a natural tooth. They restore the function and integrity of missing tooth structure resulting from cavities or external damage as in the case of a broken or cracked tooth.

It is important to remember that as with most dental restorations, composite fillings are not permanent and may have to be replaced in the future. However, they are durable and can last many years.

Advantages of Composite Fillings

  • They are the same colour (closely matched) as your natural teeth.
  • Composite fillings are less expensive than gold fillings.
  • In most cases, they can be done in one appointment.

How long do composite fillings last?

When properly taken care, composite fillings can last for many years. There is no way to determine exactly how long one it will last, as there are several factors that determine its longevity.

One key factor in determining how long a composite filling will last is the skill of the dentist that places it. Dr. Tjorhom has the knowledge, technique, and skillset required to precisely place a composite filling in your tooth for long lasting results.

Another critical factor is the quality of the filling material. At Pacificview Dental Centre, we use the highest quality materials available in the market to assure a long-lasting restoration. The third most important factor is your oral hygiene.

How are Composite fillings placed?

Usually, composite fillings are placed in one appointment. It is a simple procedure that doesn't take long. Please let us know if you have any concerns or are nervous about the process. We want to make sure you are comfortable, and that all your questions are answered.

We've broken the procedure in three steps so that you are familiarized with what happens during your appointment.

Preparing the tooth – During this step, we will clean the tooth and remove any dental decay or portions of the tooth's structure that has been compromised. We will administer local anesthetic or conscious oral sedation for your comfort and place an isolation device to support your jaw and vacuum water and debris. The dentist will use a small drill to remove the affected tissue so that the tooth is ready for the fillings. Afterward, we will apply a gel to improve adhesion between the composite and your tooth.

Composite fillings placement – Once the tooth has been prepared, we will choose the right shade of filling material, slowly pipe it into place, and shape it to fit the contours of the tooth. Finally, we will cure it with a UV light to harden it. At this point, the composite resin will acquire its full strengthen.

Checking your bite and polishing the tooth – During this step, we will make sure everything is well. We will check your bite and polish any leftover materials.

You might experience tooth sensitivity after the placement of a composite filling. Your tooth may be sensitive to temperature, pressure, sweet foods, or air. Usually, it takes a few days or even weeks for the sensitivity to resolve on its own. Please avoid the things that are causing sensitivity during this time.

Contact us if your sensitivity doesn’t subside within two to four weeks after the procedure took place or if you are experiencing extreme sensitivity.

Tips to take care of composite fillings

Practice good oral hygiene daily

Yes, part of your tooth might be resin, but there is still healthy tooth structure that needs to be taken care of; otherwise it could develop a new cavity along the edges. This might be less of an issue in amalgam fills because if bacteria start to infect along its side, the silver tarnishes and seals out the bacteria.

To protect your teeth and the composite filling, you need to clean your mouth thoroughly by regular brushing, rinsing, and flossing. Please ask us if you have any questions about how to keep your teeth in tip-top shape; we will be happy to share tips to improve your oral hygiene habits.

Stay away from habits that can damage your teeth

Oral habits such as opening a package with your teeth, biting your nails or a pen, chewing ice, and clenching your jaw can not only cause damage to the filling but to your other healthy teeth.

Get a mouth guard if you grind your teeth

Bruxism, or excessive teeth grinding or jaw clenching, is a common behaviour in the general population and can damage your composite fillings. Resin material is softer than the metal used in amalgam fillings and tends to wear down faster in those people who grind their teeth. If you grind your teeth (or suspect you do) when you sleep, mention it to us, as you might need to use a mouth guard when you sleep, not only to protect your composite fillings but your healthy teeth as well.

Visit us regularly for check-ups

Letting us check your teeth periodically allows us to detect any problems as soon as possible and we can deal with them in a timely fashion. It is crucial for good dental health.