A composite (white) filling is a tooth-colored plastic and glass mixture used to restore decayed teeth. Composites are also used for cosmetic improvements of the smile by changing the color of the teeth or reshaping disfigured teeth.
After preparation, the composite is placed in layers, typically using a light specialized to harden each layer. When the process is finished, the composite will be shared to and then polished to prevent staining and early wear.
Aesthetics are the main advantage of composites, since dentists can blend shades to create a color nearly identical to that of the actual tooth. Composites bond to the tooth to support the remaining tooth structure, which helps to prevent breakage and insulate the tooth from excessive temperature changes.
Drinking tea, coffee or other staining foods may slightly change the shade of the composite. If a patient is particularly concerned about color changes, a clear plastic coating can be placed over the composite. Composites tend to wear out sooner than silver fillings in larger cavities, although they hold up as well in small cavities.