Restore Your Smile
Tooth-Colored Dental Fillings
Almost everyone will get a cavity eventually and need a dental filling. In spite of how common dental fillings are, it is surprising how little some people know about their available options. Amalgam dental fillings, which are sometimes known as silver fillings, are still commonly used. But some patients prefer tooth-colored dental fillings that blend in with the rest of their teeth.
Today’s modern dental fillings can be both functional and natural-looking. Most people do not want amalgam dental fillings that are highly visible whenever they smile or laugh.
Drawbacks of Amalgam Fillings
Amalgam dental fillings are a mixture of metals like silver, tin, and copper, as well as other metals, tightly bound by mercury. These metallic alloys are highly sensitive to temperature fluctuations, making them expand and contract in a different way than the surrounding tooth structure.
This push-and-pull effect can eventually cause separation between the dental fillings and the underlying tooth, allowing damaging bacteria to penetrate and cause tooth decay.
Another drawback of amalgam fillings is that some tooth structure must be removed prior to placement, weakening the tooth. The tremendous force exerted on teeth from biting and chewing can eventually lead to damage to the tooth.
Benefits of Composite Fillings
- Appropriate for repairs and small fillings
- Seamlessly blend in with your natural teeth
- Composite resin forms strong bond with your teeth
- Slightly flexible material means less drilling and more preservation of tooth structure
What are tooth-colored dental fillings?
Tooth-colored fillings are made from a composite resin material that is also commonly used in dental bonding. In the past, composite was only used for the front teeth, due to the fact that it is more vulnerable to becoming damaged from the biting and chewing force exerted by the back teeth.
More recently, composite fillings have been improved so that they can also be placed on back teeth. Composite resin is useful for both restoring decay and cosmetically improving a patient’s smile by reshaping flawed teeth or brightening the color of the teeth and smile.
Tooth-Colored Dental Fillings FAQ
Here are some frequently asked questions about composite fillings:
Are tooth-colored fillings better?
Today’s composite is made from an extremely durable and strong resin polymer that is sometimes further strengthened with glass ceramics, improving wear-resistance and compression strength.
The process of receiving a tooth-colored filling requires less removal of tooth structure, meaning that the treated tooth is more durable and stronger than a tooth treated with a conventional amalgam filling.
How are composite fillings placed?
After your dentist has prepared the tooth, they will apply a composite resin in layers. They will use a special light to progressively harden each layer. When enough composite resin material has been applied, your dentist will carefully shape and polish it.
How long do tooth-colored fillings last?
Many patients have composite fillings that last for about 10 years. Under ideal circumstances, your tooth-colored fillings may last even longer than that. To ensure that your fillings last as long as possible, keep up with your routine dental exam and cleaning appointments and your oral hygiene routine.