Family & Cosmetic Dentistry
Tooth-Colored Dental Fillings
There are two basic types of dental fillings: metal fillings and tooth-colored fillings. There really is no correct choice for a given patient. It is completely up to you and your dentist to determine the most appropriate treatment choice.
Here are some advantages of tooth-colored dental fillings:
- Colored to match the shade of surrounding teeth.
- Research shows that there is less discomfort following procedures with these types of fillings.
- Reduced tooth sensitivity compared to regular fillings.
Some disadvantages of tooth-colored fillings:
- Typically more expensive than other options.
- More skill is required to place tooth-colored fillings. So more time and expense is involved.
- Just like teeth, tooth-colored fillings can become stained by things like coffee, tea and tobacco.
- Not as strong for back teeth.
- Unresponsive to teeth whitening products.
Before looking further into what is involved with receiving tooth-colored fillings, it may be helpful to understand the process of tooth decay. Tooth decay occurs because oral bacteria can form plaque on the teeth. Plaque is a sticky substance that damages teeth by secreting acids that eat away at the tooth enamel. Over time, this forms into a cavity that can allow bacteria to enter the inner parts of the tooth and destroy it. Receiving a dental filling allows the dentist to remove the tooth decay and fill the area so that bacteria cannot continue harming the tooth.
In addition to offering improved aesthetics, tooth-colored fillings help preserve more of the tooth structure. These types of fillings are constructed from a mixture, or composite, of silica fillers and plastic resins. Together, they resemble the qualities of natural teeth, such as translucency and durability. They also help to strengthen the teeth and prevent further damage.
After you receive anesthesia via injection, the tooth decay will be removed to prepare it for the restoration. The filling material will then be directly placed into the tooth. After it has bonded firmly to the tooth, the process is mostly complete.
The difference between receiving a traditional amalgam filling and a tooth-colored one is that some tooth recontouring is necessary for the amalgam type. A composite resin dental filling does not require as much tooth structure removal to create a strong union between the filling materials and the tooth. This also means that the tooth receiving the tooth-colored filling will be structurally stronger and less resistant to cracking.
When are tooth-colored fillings used most often?
Tooth-colored fillings are most appropriate for smaller restorations. They are strong and better able to withstand chewing and bite force. A patient may receive a tooth-colored filling in only one office visit, depending upon the extent of the required restoration.
Schedule Your Consultation
The best way to determine if a tooth-colored filling makes the best fit for you and your individual needs is to schedule a consultation. We can go over the treatment options with you so that you can find the most appropriate way to proceed with your treatment.