Dental fillings can restore the strength and integrity of a tooth affected by decay. When it comes to fixing a cavity or making a cosmetic change to a tooth, there are two choices of materials to use. The first material is Silver Amalgam, which is an older material which is only used to restore teeth with cavities. The second option is composite, which is tooth colored, bonds to your natural tooth structure and can be used to not only restore teeth with cavities, but also make teeth more aesthetic.
What Are Tooth Colored Fillings Made Of?
Composite (tooth-colored) fillings are made of a resin, which is a mixture of smooth glass and plastic particles. It's a biocompatible material that is highly customizable to match the shade of the surrounding tooth enamel. A tooth restored with a white filling blends beautifully with the rest of your smile.
Comparing Silver to White Fillings
How do tooth-colored fillings compare to their silver, or amalgam, counterparts? For the patient, the biggest difference is in their appearance -- but that's not all.
Other differences between white and silver fillings include...
- Composite fillings require less removal of your natural tooth structure
- Composite resin is cured within a minute and is ready for use. Silver amalgam fillings take up to 24 hours to set up and be ready for use.
- Biocompatible composite resin is a completely metal-free solution.
- Tooth colored fillings are less sensitive to heat and cold.
- Bonded fillings restore up to 95 percent of the tooth's strength.
Placing a Tooth-Colored Filling
The process for restoring a tooth with composite or tooth colored fillings is similar to that of silver fillings. Depending on the situation, for instance, if cosmetic enhancement of a misshaped or discolored tooth is the goal of treatment the tooth may not have be anesthetized. If there is a cavity in the tooth generally numbing of the tooth is necessary.
Once you are comfortable, your dentist will remove all the decay and will clean the tooth. Then a special primer and bonding agent are applied to prepare your tooth surface for the composite.
The composite resin is then placed into the prepared tooth and shaped so that it not only protects your tooth but also fits comfortably against your opposing tooth. The material is then cured with a UV light -- a process that takes just a few minutes. Once the filling has been set, your dentist will check to make sure it seals your tooth, is smooth and can be cleaned easily with both floss and your toothbrush.
After your new filling is cured and the anesthetic is no longer present you can eat, drink and go about your normal day to day activities. With the older Silver Amalgam material you can’t chew with the tooth that has been filled for 24 hours.
Cosmetic Applications of Tooth Colored Fillings
For minor cosmetic concerns on front teeth, the composite resin provides an efficient, affordable alternative to porcelain veneers. Your dentist applies the composite resin directly to the enamel and reshapes and sculpts the material to enhance or correct the size, shape or color of your tooth.
Cosmetic bonding is usually completed in just one visit to your dentist's office, and does not require the use of local anesthesia or sedation. This treatment can correct fractures, cracks, stains, discolorations, or close gaps and straighten teeth.
Contact West Lake Dental Today
To learn more about tooth colored fillings or cosmetic bonding, contact Dr. Maples' office today. He's the one you're looking for when you search “dentist near me in Loveland, CO” -- go ahead and request an appointment today!