Composite fillings are tooth colored and more closely mimic the color and translucency of natural teeth. This makes them a great choice for use in front teeth or in areas of the teeth that are more visible.
In the proper situations, they are very durable and, with good care and maintenance, will last many years, giving you a long lasting beautiful smile.
These untouched photos show the before and after of a tooth-colored filling that Dr. Brimhall replaced. You may ask why the filling on the right was not also replaced. The restoration did not have decay and the discoloration was only due to staining at the margins (the interface of the tooth and the filling). The patient was informed that the filling could be replaced to improve aesthetics; however, the discoloration did not bother the patient at all, so it was left in place. Our emphasis will always be thoroughly and comprehensively inform our patients to allow them the opportunity to make informed decisions about their dental health.
The photo below includes the same teeth from above five years after the original placement and was taken during a routine hygiene visit. The restoration is doing great and the neighboring tooth with a stain margin is still going strong.
Reasons for the need of composite fillings:
Minor chips in teeth.
"Trial" smile before veneers.
Closing space between two teeth (diastema).
How are composite fillings placed?
Composite fillings are typically completed in a single appointment. Following gently numbing the area, any decay is completely removed. The resulting space is then meticulously cleaned and sanitized. In certain circumstances, the decay may be very close to the nerve of the teeth (the pulp), which requires the use of special medication, which should lessen sensitivity as well as decreasing the possibility of needing root canal therapy. The composite filling is then precisely placed, contoured and polished, restoring the tooth to its original shape and function. Due to the nature of composite fillings, often less tooth structure is required to be removed than with traditional filling materials, such as amalgam (silver).
It is not uncommon to experience some sensitivity to hot and cold following the initial placement of composite restorations, however this often subsides shortly after the tooth acclimates to the new restoration.
Care instructions are given at the conclusion of the treatment. Good oral hygiene practices, eating habits, management of parafunctional habits (grinding, clenching) and regular dental visits will all aid in prolonging the life of the new restoration.