Many people have fillings of one sort or another but today, because we are much more conscious of our smile, we can choose a natural looking alternative – the composite filling. These aesthetic fillings are made from tooth-coloured resin, a mixture of plastic and glass that blends in beautifully with your teeth.
The main advantage of composite fillings is their aesthetic appeal. Thanks to latest advances in dental materials, white fillings are more durable than ever. The life expectancy of your composite filling can depend on the depth of cavity and its position in the mouth. Your dentist is best positioned to advise you.
They support the structure of a damaged tooth, helping to prevent further breakage or sensitivity, and can be placed in the front or back teeth. As they are considered to be a cosmetic treatment, they are not available on the NHS and must be paid for.
Why do I need a filling?
The most common reason people need to have fillings is because of dental decay and cavities. A filling will help protect the sensitive internal structure of the tooth and prevent any bacteria from entering the tooth. Once we have removed the decayed part of the tooth, we restore the tooth with layers of composite, making it look as good as new.
How do you fill a tooth?
- We first numb the area with a local anaesthetic and the decayed part of the tooth removed.
- We add a special gel to the tooth which creates tiny holes to allow the composite material to bond effectively.
- We wash away the gel and dry the tooth, then add a priming agent.
- We add the composite in layers, gradually building the tooth structure from the bottom up. We mould the composite to match the shape of the tooth.
- Using a special bright light, we harden the resin and then polish the tooth so it looks like a natural part of the tooth.
- Composite fillings take around 15-20 minutes to fit.