Composite filling: What is a tooth filling?

A Brief Overview of Tooth Fillings

Dental Chat has been looking to help people with gaining more dental knowledge and gaining more dental information about various dental procedures. Dental emergencies can be scary for anyone, especially when they do not know what to do in the case of an emergency.

Composite filling

One of the most commonly asked questions in the dental community is the one about tooth fillings. Fortunately, here at DentalChat, we have a team of specialist that can answer these questions for you. In this dental chat article, we will cover some of the common dental questions related to composite fillings. to ensure you are keeping your teeth safe in the case of a dental emergency.

What is a tooth filling?

Many people have experienced getting a tooth filling or maybe needing to get some teeth fillings done.  Generally, a tooth filling is needed if you have a cavity or caries in the tooth. To treat a cavity your dentist will remove the decayed portion of the tooth and then "fill" the area on the tooth where the decayed material once was.


What is a composite filling?

Nowadays, most dentists use a form or type of composite filling to fill a tooth.  Composite Fillings are also used to repair cracked or broken teeth and teeth that have been worn down from misuse, such as from nail-biting or tooth grinding.  Composite fillings are usually made from a microfilter particle or resin-based materials. 

Many times these composite fillings are soft and harden over time - especially if blue UV light is placed on the composite filling.  Composite fillings do have a tendency to wear over time.  Hence, after 5 or 6 years - it is possible that some composite fillings may need to be replaced.  Sometimes, composite fillings do fall out.  Again, will need to go back to the dentist to have the cavity re-filled with new composite fillings.

Getting a Composite Filling Done - Steps of Getting a Tooth Filling:

  1. Numbing the tooth that the filling is going to be done in (sometimes may not need.

  2. Using a drill or handpiece to remove the decay.

  3. Filling the tooth, usually with a composite filling.

These are the usual steps a dentist will take to do a filling.  Of course, each dentist is different. First, the dentist will numb the area around the tooth with a local anesthetic. For some very small fillings, numbing the tooth with an injection may not be necessary.

 Next, a drill, air abrasion instrument or laser will be used to remove the decayed area. The choice of instrument depends on the individual dentist's comfort level, training, and investment in the particular piece of equipment as well as the location and extent of the decay.

Next, your dentist will probe or test the area during the decay removal process to determine if all the decay has been removed. Once the decay has been removed, your dentist will prepare the space for the filling by cleaning the cavity of bacteria and debris.

If the decay is near the root, your dentist may first put in a liner made of glass ionomer (though this is becoming rarer) - then the composite filling resin or other material is placed in. To make the soft composite filling material hard, many times a dentist will use what is called a light blue curing light. Generally, after the filling is in, your dentist will finish and polish it - making sure your bite is just right.

Why should I get a tooth filling?

Usually, your dentist will take dental x-rays and do an intra-oral exam in your mouth, with an explorer, to check for a filling. Probing your tooth -  when the dentist is pressing with the explorer on your teeth or probing your tooth, the dentist is checking to see if in the middle of the tooth, where the fossa and grooves are - there is any stickiness.  The stickiness indicates that your tooth may require a filling. Sometimes the cavities or caries can also be on the sides of the tooth, which is usually better detected with dental x-rays.

The other procedure your dentist will do is to check the dental x-rays.  Here your dentist is checking to see if there are any places that a cavity is present, as well as looking for possible tooth defects or a tooth abscess by the root area. It’s important to note that not all dental fillings or tooth fillings are the same size or categorized the same. The size of your filling can vary and the surfaces of the tooth that will need to be filled can vary.  Your tooth is broken down or categorized on various surfaces as well. We are discussing various cosmetic dental care topics at DentalChat.  We are Dental Veneers Blogging, Porcelain Crowns Chatting and Composite Dental Fillings discussing online at DentalChat.  

Can a composite filling fall out?

The simple answer to this is yes.  Some areas of the tooth, have more chance for the composite filling to fall out.  For instance, facial composites (buccal composite fillings) that is covering enamel erosion, have a greater likelihood of falling out.  The patient simply has to go to the local dental office and have a new composite filling put in (placed into the tooth cavity).

Tooth Sensitivity 

Online Emergency Dental Chat with us and more.  We discussing various Dental Emergencies from wisdom tooth pain to having an abscess in the mouth. Emergency Dentist Chat about tooth pain and other dental topics with us.  Many people experience having Sensitive Teeth or a Sensitive Tooth from say eating some ice cream.  Here is a link to tooth pain from teeth sensitivity -

In the case of an emergency, you should visit a local dentist/doctor as soon as can.  Can contact us a DentalChat if have Dental Questions. We are here for you with our team of dental specialists to answer dental questions and provide you some dental information, that hopefully will help.