Composite Fillings

before and after tooth fillings

Composite fillings are tooth-colored, clear, or white fillings that are used as a restorative measure to repair teeth that have been damaged by tooth decay. They are made using a dental material called composite resin, which can be color-matched and shaped to match the surrounding tooth structure.  Like other filling materials, composite resin is used to fill-in a dental cavity in order to seal the tooth and prevent further decay. Because of their aesthetic appearance, composite fillings are often used in visible teeth, but they can also be used towards the back of the mouth as well. 

Did You Know?

Composite fillings are one of the most popular dental filling materials used today. This is because they are aesthetic, affordable, and preserve more natural tooth structure than other filling materials. 

Frequently Asked Questions: 

Do I need a composite filling?

You may need a composite filling if you have a cavity caused by dental decay. Some cavities may not be immediately noticeable, while others may cause symptoms such as toothache, tooth sensitivity, pain while biting, or discolorations on the tooth. Therefore, the only way to know for sure if you need a composite filling is to visit your Long Beach dentist for a dental exam. If you are experiencing symptoms, it is important that you visit your Long Beach dentist before the problem gets worse. 

What should I expect when having a composite filling placed at my Long Beach dental office?

Steps of a dental filling

When having a composite filling placed by your Long Beach dental office, you can expect to start by having the tooth numbed with dental anesthetic. This will prevent you from feeling any discomfort during the procedure. Next, your dentist will remove the decayed tissue and clean the area. They will also apply an acidic solution to the tooth in order to etch the surface for better adhesion of the composite resin. The composite resin will then be applied and hardened one layer at a time. The final layer will be shaped and polished so that it matches the rest of the teeth. In most cases, getting a composite filling only takes about an hour or less. 

What happens after I get a composite filling?

After you have a composite filling placed, you will need to wait until your mouth regains feeling before eating. The dental anesthetic wears off at different rates depending on how your body metabolizes it, however it generally wears off about 1-5 hours after the procedure. Other than waiting for the anesthetic to wear off, there is no post-treatment care required for a composite filling. 

How long do composite fillings last?

Most composite fillings last for about 5-7 years, however yours may have a shorter or longer lifespan depending on its size, location in the mouth, and your oral habits. To maintain your composite filling for longer, it is recommended to practice good oral hygiene and to avoid damaging behaviors. Good oral hygiene consists of brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and visiting your Long Beach dental office for semi-annual teeth cleanings. Some damaging behaviors to avoid include using your teeth to open things, biting your nail, chewing on ice or pens, smoking, and grinding or clenching your teeth.