How to Care for a New Composite Filling

Information Following Composite Fillings

Congratulations! You just made an excellent choice to insure the health and function of your teeth for years to come!

We have restored some of your teeth with tooth-colored composite fillings. The resin material used contains small filler particles of glass-like material for strength and wear resistance. These restorations will serve you well for many years. They contain the finest and most up-to-date materials available today. However, you should be aware of the following information about your new restorations:

  • As with natural teeth, avoid chewing excessively hard foods on filled teeth (hard candy, ice etc) because both the resin material and the remaining tooth structure can break under extreme forces.
  • Composite fillings set up hard right away. There is no waiting time to eat once the numbness has worn off. Children especially should be observed while still numb because they like to chew on their tongue or cheek which can cause serious damage to the tissues.
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold is common a few days and even several weeks following a dental restoration. Usually, the deeper the cavity, the more sensitive the tooth will be. If you feel that your bite is not correctly balanced please call for an appointment for a simple adjustment.
  • The gum tissue could have been irritated during the procedure and may be sore for a few days together with the anesthetic injection site.
  • The finished restoration may be contoured slightly differently and have a different texture than the original tooth. Your tongue usually magnifies this small difference, but you will become accustomed to this in a few days.
  • Proper brushing, flossing and regular 6-month (minimal) cleanings are essential to the long-term stability and appearance of your restorations. Often, problems that may develop with the fillings can be found at an early stage and repaired easily, while waiting for a longer time may require more extensive treatment.

Any tooth that has a cavity restored is a weakened version of its former self. Fillings do not add strength to a tooth but fill the void where the decay once was. The remaining tooth structure is then subjected to the same amount of force as an unfilled tooth and over time that force can cause fracturing in the tooth structure, or cause the tooth to pull away from the filling creating an area where bacteria and food debris can get in but you can’t get to with your brush. In these cases where there is more filling than tooth, or if a tooth has an already moderate size filling that is failing, then a crown is indicated. A crown covers the entire tooth and does add strength back to the tooth. Sometimes we place a filling thinking there is enough tooth structure to support the filling but after we remove the decay this turns out to not be the case. If a filling fails within 2 years from the date of service and a crown is warranted, the cost of the filling will be applied to the cost of a build-up and crown. In addition, for a period of 2 years from the date of service, we will replace the filling – due to breakage, misfit or decay at no additional cost to the patient.

This warranty is null and void if the patient does not maintain their recommended continuing care cleaning appointments.