A composite (tooth-coloured) filling is made of nano small glass particles within a resin matrix. Composites are used to repair a tooth with decay, cracks, fractures, and wearing. It can also be used to close spaces between teeth or otherwise reshape them for aesthetic or functional reasons. The affected portion of the tooth is removed and replaced with the composite material. The putty-like filling is applied in layers and hardened with a special light. The final layers are shaped and polished and the occlusion or bite is then meticulously adjusted, restoring the natural beauty and function to the tooth.
When composites were first introduced they seemed to cause some tooth sensitivity, sometimes even extreme. The materials and our techniques have evolved such that this rarely occurs.
Composite is the modern filling of choice when the area of the tooth being replaced is smaller. For larger restorations inlays, onlays or crowns may be recommended. We consider composite superior to amalgam (silver fillings) not only because it does not contain mercury but because it is bonded or fused to the tooth surfaces thereby strengthening the tooth. The metal nature of amalgam causes it to expand and contract which can fracture the glass-like enamel of the tooth; not so for composites. As well they don’t require as much of the natural tooth be removed. At Art and Science Dental we love being conservative, so this aspect is very important to us. And since the composite material closely matches the tooth color, fillings are nearly invisible.