Tooth-colored fillings, also called composite, fillings are a type of filling valued most for their ability to closely match the natural color and look of your teeth. Unlike the standard amalgam fillings that appear silver on your teeth, composites will fill in the necessary space and maintain a relatively organic look. They are made up of a combination of plastic resin and silica fillers and are used most often on the front of more visible teeth.
What to Expect
The process of applying composite fillings is about the same as it is for standard amalgam fillings. You will, of course, come into our office for an appointment dedicated specifically to the filling procedure. There are a few different reasons why a tooth-filling may be necessary and the most common is due to tooth decay or chipping. The first thing we do for you is apply an anesthesia through a numbing injection to the area and remove the decay from the tooth so that it may be restored. The filling material is then placed onto the tooth and bonded to the structure.
For amalgam fillings, there are a series of ‘cuts’ that must be made to the natural structure of the tooth in order to ensure that the filling will be stable. This results in less of the natural tooth being present by the end. However, resin or tooth-colored fillings do not require undergoing these ‘cuts’ as they just form directly to the tooth. The composite, after it has been placed on and bonded to the tooth with a bright blue light that hardens the softer material, is typically polished to help with early wear and staining. This less invasive approach is thought to ultimately lead to a longer-lasting and better restoration. Usually, only one visit will be required to place a composite filling as long as a large amount of the tooth doesn’t need replacement. If this is the case, the filling may be created outside of the mouth by preparing the tooth and impressing a mold while you are in office. Later that mold will be used to make the filling and a separate appointment will be required to cement the filling to the tooth.
Benefits of Tooth-Colored Fillings
As mentioned before, one of the biggest pros to composite fillings are their more natural appearance. Additionally, the fact that these fillings bond directly to the tooth and don’t need much, if any, of the natural structure removed means less breakage and fracturing is likely to occur. The translucency and wear resistance of a tooth’s organic build is also mimicked by the resin.
Composite fillings are an excellent choice and provide good durability and resistance in the face of small to medium-sized fillings. They can stand up relatively well to moderate pressure that is a result of the constant stress of chewing.
In the end, the best kind of filling is one that doesn’t exist! So, we always encourage you to remain dedicated to the proper care of your teeth through an at-home routine that involves effective and consistent preventive habits. These habits should include brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, eating a balanced diet, flossing daily, and visiting us regularly (every 6 months or so).
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, contact our Gray, ME office today to schedule an appointment!