How to Place a Composite Filling

Tooth filling procedures have come a long way and have evolved into greatly improved techniques. Gone are the days when mercury or metals were used. No one needs fear heartily laughing and showing their teeth, lest others see blackened molars and “metal-mouth”.

First, a professional dentist will evaluate the dentition. Probing will find dental decay, which will be removed from the tooth using a drill (hand piece), powered air or lasers.

Once the decay is taken out, the tooth is prepared by shaping the area for the filling, to ensure that it will stay securely in place.

The next step is preparing and inserting the filling. For its durability and aesthetic appearance, composite fillings are often chosen.

Composite Make Up

There are usually three main ingredients in a composite:

• Inorganic Filler (e.g. silica)

• Synthetic filler (glass and ceramic compounds) which provide both resistance and its translucent quality

• Resin (bisphenol-A-glycidyl methacrylate or urethane dimethacrylate)

After the specific composite is chosen, painstaking care must be used by a professional and experienced dentist in the placement of the composite fillings into the prepared tooth space.

Although composites are inserted during the time that they are soft and doughy, a special light with a blue wavelength specific to the initiator and catalyst (a substance that hastens the chemical reaction) involved in the particular package which hardens (cures) the resin into a solid filling state.

The light cured composites are more dense and stronger than self-cured resins which might have porosity from air bubbles.

Because the light does not infiltrate a thickness of more than 2-3 millimeters into the resin, the composite must be placed in layers and intervals, hardening each 2-3 mm thickness, before placing the next layer until finished. This prevents the composite from remaining soft in the middle. Curing times are longer for darker shades of resin. The unpolymerized, soft resin would ultimately destroy or irritate the tooth’s nerve if inserted in bulk, all at one time.

In addition to filling cavity surfaces and gaps between teeth, composites can be applied to reshape a tooth or as a partial crown on a tooth. Even bridges between 2-3 teeth have been successfully implemented with composites.

Adhering to proper guidelines, a well-placed composite is not only pleasing to the eye; it is also markedly functional-strong, hardwearing and comfortable. In addition, the composites will last at least ten years or longer.