Tooth-colored fillings, or composite fillings, are a method to preserve your natural tooth. Cavities are caused by dental caries (tooth decay) that develop due to a buildup of bacteria which secretes acid creating a hole in the tooth. Tooth decay, fractures, or esthetics may result in the need for rebuilding tooth structure.
Unlike typical silver amalgam fillings, composite fillings are highly esthetic and match the natural color of your teeth. Composite fillings also allow dentists to preserve more of the natural tooth structure as the material bonds to the tooth like an adhesive unlike silver amalgam fillings.
What Should I Expect At My Visit?
After a thorough exam of the affected tooth or teeth, a filling may be recommended. Riverbend Family Dentistry is a mercury-free practice and all fillings placed are done with tooth-colored restorative material.
If numbing is required, we will begin treating you with a local anesthetic near the site of the filling to alleviate any discomfort. The tooth will be cleaned to remove decay and/or discolorations. Sometimes if the cavity is very deep, the dentist will place a special medicine to help reduce the potential for any sensitivity. Next, the tooth will be filled with a tooth-colored filling to match your natural tooth color. The material is then hardened with a curing light, adjusted, and then polished.
What Should I Expect After My Visit?
You should be able to return to normal activity immediately after your visit; however, we do recommend waiting for the numbness to subside before eating. The numbness is usually gone within an hour or so after leaving.
Sensitivity following the fillings varies significantly and depends mostly on the depth of the decay and proximity to the nerve. Many times no sensitivity occurs at all. In some cases, sensitivity can last a few weeks or longer which subsides over time as the nerve within the tooth slowly heals itself.