What are Composite Dental Fillings?

Composite fillings are created using a combination of plastic and very fine glass particles. Altitude Dental in Coquitlam uses composite resin fillings in our family dental care practice. The mixture used to create the composite resin fillings has increased in strength, durability, flexibility and is available in a range of shades. Composite fillings are better than amalgam fillings because they bond directly to the tooth whereas amalgam fillings are held in the tooth by retention.

What is the filling procedure like?

We will first remove the decayed portion of your tooth. With composite fillings we do not have to remove as much tooth structure so there is less drilling. The prepared tooth is then cleaned and an adhesive is used to bond the composite materials to the tooth. The composite material is soft when placed in the cavity and is applied in thin layers. Each layer is treated with a special light that hardens the material.

Once the filling is built with sufficient layers of composite, we remove any excess filling material and shape the filling to match your natural tooth structure. The final step is to adjust the bite and to polish the filling.

Will I have to take any medication?

Most patients do not need medication after a filling appointment. If the filling was near the nerve or the pulp of the tooth there might be some hot or cold sensitivity for the first few days.

How long do composite dental fillings last?

After having a composite filling put in your tooth, the tooth surface will be strong, durable and look completely like natural enamel. The tooth will now be even stronger than it was before, as the adhesive used has firmly bonded the composite to your remaining tooth structure. These composite fillings can last for several years, but some factors that can cause them to deter over time include: clenching and grinding, eating very hard/crunchy food, chewing ice, and poor oral hygiene routines.

What are the signs of decay?

In dentistry, decay is known as a silent disease because there may not be any pain. Bacteria ‘eat’ into a tooth, causing a pathway from the outside of the tooth to the inside. As long as there is a way for the bacteria to move out of the tooth, pain may not occur. Tooth decay can often go unnoticed, as it doesn’t cause pain until it becomes very large. This is why it is important to get regular dental x-rays, to make sure decay is diagnosed before it becomes painful to you.

Some symptoms of tooth decay are:

  • sensitivity to sweet, hot or cold foods and beverages
  • a bad taste in your mouth, even after brushing and flossing
  • bad breath/ bad odor coming from your mouth

If you experience any of these signs, please contact our office to book an appointment for a dental exam or check-up.