When treating a cavity, the dentist will remove the decayed portion of your tooth and fill it with another substance. This procedure is called a filling. There are multiple options for the material to be used in the filling, the most common of which are composite fillings.
A composite filling is also known as a tooth colored filling, since the material used in the filling can be closely matched to the color of your teeth. Composite fillings provide good durability and the procedure typically involves removing less of a tooth than you would during an amalgam (silver) filling. They are also particularly well suited for treating front or highly visible teeth because of their natural look. Composite filling material is also recommended because the composite is bonded to the tooth which creates strength against further fracture of remaining tooth structure. Composites should last many years with good oral hygiene and monitoring with regular dental cleanings and exams.
How a filling is placed
Before beginning the removal of the decay/cavity in the tooth, the dentist will take a shade match of your tooth so that the new filling will blend in and look natural. Teeth appear most natural in shade when hydrated; therefore, the shade is best taken at the beginning of the appointment. The dentist will then numb the area where the filling is to be placed and a rubber dam will be positioned if conditions allow, providing a dry and isolated environment. The dentist will then remove any decay that is present in the tooth. Once this is complete, the tooth is cleaned, bonding agent (i.e. dental glue) is applied and the filling is condensed and shaped to conform to your tooth. After the composite is set with a curing light, the filling will be polished to be comfortable and fit your bite.