When someone develops a tooth cavity, the decayed areas must be removed to avoid further oral damage. This leaves an empty space that is usually filled with strong, durable materials to give support to the tooth so it can function normally. In the past, this area was filled with a silver amalgam material. Today, dental patients have the option of choosing tooth colored filling materials.
What are Tooth Colored Fillings?
Also called white fillings, tooth colored fillings are made of materials that blend seamlessly with surrounding teeth. Since being introduced to dentistry in the 1960s, tooth colored fillings have improved greatly in how they look and feel. Thanks to a natural tooth color and the durability of composite resin used to construct the fillings, tooth colored fillings are almost invisible.
How are Tooth Colored Fillings Placed in the Mouth?
Dr. Muller will begin the process by removing any decay from the mouth and cleaning the tooth. Next, a primer is applied in order to open pores in the dentin and enamel of the tooth. After applying the primer, a bonding agent is applied and cured using an ultra-violet light. This ensures that the filling adheres tightly.
Following this, Dr. Muller places the tooth colored filling into the tooth and shapes it to resemble the natural structure of the original tooth. At this point, the ultra-violet light is applied to the filling to cure and harden it. Finally, he will test whether the teeth fit together properly when the patient bites down or flosses after the filling hardens. Adjustments are made as necessary before the new tooth is smoothed and polished. Typically, the entire process can be completed during one visit.
What are the advantages of Having Tooth Colored Fillings?
There are many advantages to having tooth colored fillings. Besides having fillings that closely matches a natural tooth color, these types of fillings are strong and require minimally invasive dental work. During the placement of these fillings, the chemical bond hardens in a matter of seconds. Furthermore, up to 95 percent of the original tooth strength is restored.
Tooth colored fillings are good for front and back teeth. Often, it is possible to repair the fillings if they become damaged.
Are There Any Disadvantages to Having Tooth Colored Fillings?
Despite the many benefits of having tooth colored fillings, there are also disadvantages to consider. Although they are durable and provide a more natural look, these fillings are not as strong the silver amalgam fillings. Stains from foods and beverages such as red wine, tea and coffee may occur more easily.
Tooth colored fillings are also more expensive that the traditional silver fillings. In some cases, patients will have to pay extra to get tooth colored fillings. Most dental insurance companies may classify tooth colored fillings as a cosmetic procedure.
How Will I Know if Tooth Colored Fillings are the Best Choice for My Dental Needs?
The best way to know if tooth colored fillings are the right dental procedure is to consult with our staff at Muller Family Dentistry. We are familiar with your dental history and can recommend the best choice based on that knowledge.
A number of factors may be considered including the location of the decayed tooth, the size of the area that is being restored and the current condition of your oral health. Dr. Muller may also consider how chewing or grinding will impact your teeth to determine which restoration is best. As an alternative to tooth colored fillings, inlays and onlays, gold fillings or silver amalgams might be the better choice.