A Guide to the Composite Filling Procedure

A Guide to the Composite Filling Procedure from Southern Cal Smiles: Susan Fredericks, D.D.S, M.P.H. in Woodland Hills, CAFillings are the most common treatment used for cavities. Composite fillings are a type of filling that may also sometimes be used for treating broken, cracked, or worn teeth.

Steps in a tooth filling procedure

Filling a tooth is a multi-step process:

1. The dentist numbs the area around the tooth with a local anesthetic.

2. The dentist uses an air abrasion instrument, drill, or laser to remove the decayed portion of the tooth.

3. The dentist probes and tests the tooth to ensure that the entire decayed portion has been removed.

4. The dentist removes any debris and bacteria from the cavity to prepare it for the filling.

5. If the cavity is near the tooth root, the dentist may place a liner made from composite resin, glass ionomer, or another material to protect the nerve.

6. The dentist places the filling material and then polishes it.

Additional steps for a composite filling procedure

Composite filling procedures take about 20 minutes longer than silver amalgam because of the additional steps involved in placing the material in the cavity. Composite materials are applied in layers, and each layer is hardened with a special light before the next layer is applied. Once all of the layers have been applied and hardened, the dentist shapes, trims, and polishes the restoration.

Aftercare for composite fillings

Brushing with fluoride toothpaste twice per day, flossing once per day, and rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash once per day is recommended. Schedule dental checkups every six months or when a problem occurs, such as a chipped, broken, or lost filling.

Tooth sensitivity

One of the most common issues with fillings is sensitivity to air, pressure, temperature, or sweet foods. For most patients, this goes away after a few weeks. If this issue lasts more than two to four weeks or the tooth is excessively sensitive, patients may need to contact their dentist to discuss treatment options, such as a desensitizing toothpaste or a root canal procedure.

Tooth pain

If you have pain around your fillings when you bite, the filling may be interfering with your bite. Your dentist can usually fix this by reshaping the filling. If you are experiencing an achy pain and your cavity was near the pulp of your tooth, your tooth pulp may not be healthy. A root canal treatment may be needed to resolve this pain.

Deterioration

The pressure caused by grinding, chewing, or clenching the teeth can chip, wear or crack fillings. Composite fillings are particularly vulnerable because the material is not as durable as other materials. If the seal between the filling and the tooth enamel breaks down, bacteria and food particles can infiltrate the tooth, causing decay. If the decay is extensive, the dentist may need to replace the filling with a crown.

Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Composite Fillings in Woodland Hills, CA

Conclusion

The procedure for placing composite fillings is similar to other types. However, it requires some additional time due to the layering process involved with applying the material. Talk to your dentist about any concerns or questions you have about the process.

Request an appointment or call Southern Cal Smiles: Susan Fredericks, D.D.S, M.P.H. at 818-657-8055 for an appointment in our Woodland Hills office.

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