What are tooth colored fillings?
Tooth colored or “white” fillings are a great way to restore or partially reconstruct damaged, chipped, or decayed teeth. First used in the 1960s, tooth colored fillings have become greatly improved in their durability and look. Made of a composite resin, tooth colored fillings can be made to the exact color and opacity of a natural tooth, making them almost invisible.
What are the advantages of tooth colored fillings?
Tooth colored fillings have many advantages. In addition to closely matching the natural color and opacity of a tooth, these types of fillings are very strong and minimally invasive. During their placement, they are chemically bonded to the tooth, and completely harden in seconds. They restore up to 95% of the original strength of the tooth, and can be used on both front and back teeth. They can often be repaired if damaged, do not contain the mercury found in traditional silver amalgam fillings, and usually cause little to no sensitivity after placement.
What are the disadvantages of tooth colored fillings?
The disadvantages of tooth colored fillings is that they are not as strong as the traditional silver amalgam fillings, can be stained by foods and beverages including coffee, tea, and red wine, and are more expensive than the silver dental amalgam fillings. In some cases, dental insurance companies will require patients to pay a surcharge to have tooth colored fillings placed in their restorations.
How are tooth colored fillings placed?
Tooth colored composite resin fillings are easily placed during one visit. First, any decay is removed from your tooth and then your tooth is cleaned. Once clean, a primer is applied to your tooth to open the pores in the tooth’s dentin and enamel. A bonding agent is then applied and cured with an ultra-violet light so that it will easily adhere to the tooth colored filling. The dentist will then place the filling material into the tooth and shape it to resemble the natural structure of your tooth. Once shaped, the filling will be exposed to ultra-violet light so that it will cure and become hard. After the filling is hardened, the dentist will check to make sure that your teeth fit together properly when you bite down, and that you can easily floss between your teeth. Any necessary adjustments are then made and your new tooth colored filling will be smoothed and polished.
How do I know if tooth colored fillings are the best choice for me?
Consulting with your dentist is the best way to decide whether or not tooth colored fillings are the best choice for your dental restorations. Your dentist will recommend the best choice for your filling material based on a number of factors including the size of the area to be restored, the location of the tooth being restored, the current condition of your teeth, and the different types of forces that will impact your teeth when you chew or grind. Alternatives to tooth colored fillings include gold fillings, silver amalgam fillings, inlays and onlays.