If you have had white fillings or tooth colored fillings on your teeth, you have probably had your teeth restored with a dental material called a composite. These ‘white’ fillings or tooth colored fillings are not solid porcelain, in fact the resin matrix is like plastic. Because of this, tooth colored fillings do require some special care to help these restorations last as long as possible. These white fillings or composite fillings can chip and stain and require occasional replacement.
That tooth colored bonding material you have just had placed on your tooth or teeth will not last forever. In fact nothing placed on teeth lasts ‘forever’. This blog will tell you how to take care of tooth colored or white fillings (composite bonding) so that it lasts as long as possible!
What is composite or tooth colored filling material?
Composite filling materials in dentistry are basically a mix of very specially sized porcelain particles in a resin matrix. You will see the term ‘white filling’ or tooth colored filling’ used for dental composites. The weakest part of your new tooth colored filling material is the resin matrix that holds the filling material together and allows the bonding to your tooth. When the edges of tooth colored fillings start to leak they will pick up stains from the food that you eat and create voids between the filling and your tooth where bacteria can hide.
Taking care of your Tooth Colored fillings:
- Use a soft tooth brush and a gentle toothpaste – toothpaste should not scratch the surface of your teeth or your fillings
- Highly staining foods should not be swished and left for long periods on your teeth
- Gently brush your teeth at least twice a day and after eating or drinking foods that stain.
- If your fillings are on the edges (biting surfaces) of your teeth) avoid biting into hard foods like carrots, chewing the last bit of meat off of a bone, hard candies.
- Avoid destructive habits like clenching your teeth or grinding your teeth
- Avoid habits like biting on fingernails or straws or working sunflower seeds between your teeth. Remember that even soft foods can cause damage if you are gritting that food between the edges of your teeth. It is really the excessive tooth contact that is doing the damage. Excessive contact happens during clenching and grinding. This can easily break or chip your tooth colored composite or white fillings.
What things should you watch out for if you are having tooth colored fillings done?
- Ask your dentist to show you photos of other patients teeth that have also had tooth colored fillings similar to the ones that you want to complete. Your dentist or dental assistants should be proud to show off their work.
- Ask about the type of filling material being used and what precautions you will need to take after the fillings are completed.
- Examine your fillings at home under a good light both by looking at them and feeling them with your tongue. They should be smooth! They should have proper contours.
- It should be easy and smooth to floss your teeth after having any type of filling completed. Your floss should not snag!
- If your bite does not feel natural or comfortable, you should let your dentist know this as soon as possible. A filling that is left high can easily break or damage your tooth. A high filling can give you a toothache!
In our office we do a lot of different fillings with tooth colored composite material. Our composite materials are manufactured to the highest standards to help these restorations to be very strong as well as beautiful and long lasting. We use different materials based on the situation. For example, strength may be the primary consideration for fillings on the chewing surfaces of back teeth. On the front surfaces of the anterior teeth, appearance and polish-ability may be the primary concern.
Please call our office to schedule a consult appointment to see if tooth colored or composite bonding will work for you! (970) 242-3635. Or, please visit our website for more information at www.juliegillisdds.com. We would love to see you!
Yours for better dental health,
Julie Gillis DDS, AAACD
Restoring Teeth/Restoring Smiles