Teeth damaged by decay need to have sufficient protection or else they’ll continue to break apart. Instead of relying on the amalgam fillings of the past, you can use dental fillings that match the color of your existing teeth. Thanks to innovations in dental materials, tooth-colored fillings offer a viable alternative to the traditional amalgam fillings made from mercury and numerous other alloys.
However, the benefits of tooth-colored fillings are more than just aesthetic. If you’re in need of a filling or want to get your current metal restorations replaced, don’t hesitate to contact our dentists and schedule an appointment!
Unlike amalgam fillings, tooth-colored alternatives do not use any metal components whatsoever. Instead, they use composite resin, which is made from a unique blend of glass and plastic. Composite resin is ideal to use for dental fillings because it’s highly malleable and can be shaded to blend in with natural teeth more effectively. It’s biocompatible, which means it’s designed to integrate with your existing oral structures without worry of rejection. Even though they’re made from more malleable material, tooth-colored fillings can easily last for 10 years when practicing proper oral hygiene.
Besides their aesthetic appearance, tooth-colored fillings allow for greater preservation of your natural tooth structure. Amalgam fillings generally require removal of tooth enamel in order to create a proper fit. Since composite resin is more moldable, it’s easier to fill cavities and shape them once they’re already placed.
Furthermore, composite resin does not expand and contract like amalgam fillings. When metal is exposed to hot and cold temperatures on a regular basis, it causes the filling to act as a wedge inside the tooth. This breaks the tooth apart over time, resulting in the need for replacements sooner. Composite resin doesn’t respond to hot and cold stimuli in this way, therefore reducing the risk of it breaking teeth apart further.
The beauty of tooth-colored fillings is that they can typically be placed in a single visit! Once your tooth has been examined, we can begin the process of shading the resin to match the current color of your natural tooth. Once made, we’ll numb the area around your tooth or teeth, then remove any damaged tissue that’s present.
Next, an etchant material is placed directly on the tooth, which makes its surface more porous. A more porous surface makes it easier for the resin to adhere to the tooth. After the resin is shaped and molded, we’ll use a special curing light to harden the tooth almost instantly.
Maintaining your fillings requires no special care, but you’ll still need to commit to brushing and flossing every day. You’ll also need to visit our practice every six months for checkups and cleanings. This way we can confirm if it’s time to have your fillings replaced or not. Always use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a waxed or monofilament floss. By doing so, you won’t prematurely wear down your restorations or cause your floss to tear while in use.