Tooth-colored fillings allow us to restore decayed teeth so they’re not only healthy, they’re attractive, too. These fillings are truly bonded with your natural teeth, protecting them from infiltrating bacteria and liquids, and they can restore strength to your teeth. Teeth-colored fillings may require the removal of less natural tooth material, and can last as long as or longer than metal amalgam fillings. They can also provide better insulation against temperature changes so your teeth are less likely to be sensitive.
Benefits of Tooth-Colored Fillings
Tooth-colored fillings are better than the traditional metal amalgam fillings for many reasons:
- More attractive appearance
- Creates a seal with natural teeth
- Require removal of less natural tooth material
- Can strengthen weakened teeth
- Provide better insulation against heat and cold
- Can last longer than metal amalgam fillings
- Don’t contain toxic mercury
The most recognizable benefit of tooth-colored fillings is that they don’t stand out the way metal amalgam or gold fillings do. Metal amalgam fillings start out silver, but they can rapidly turn black, resulting in an appearance that may be even worse than the cavity they are filling.
Another problem with metal amalgam fillings is that they are just pressed into the hole in your tooth. They aren’t actually bonded to the tooth, which means they won’t create a good seal. Tooth-colored fillings are bonded to your natural teeth, creating a tight seal.
Tooth-colored fillings are made of plastic and/or ceramic, so they provide about the same level of insulation against heat and cold as your natural tooth. Metal amalgam fillings are metal and conduct heat or cold into the tooth. The metal amalgam also shrinks faster in response to cold, which means it becomes smaller than the hole in the tooth, and allows liquid in around the filling. When the temperature returns to normal, the liquid is forced back out of the hole. This is described as percolation, and it can lead to damage to the tooth.
Another problem occurs when the filling is exposed to heat. It expands faster than the tooth, pushing against the tooth enamel, causing cracking. It may also push into the tooth and cause pressure sensitivity.
Despite these problems, metal amalgam fillings can be durable. But tooth-colored fillings can last even longer.
One concern many people have about metal amalgam fillings is that they contain mercury, which is known to be toxic. Dentists are being urged to add special filters to their practices to prevent mercury from reaching water supplies because it contaminates the ecosystem and makes fishes toxic to eat. Although the FDA and the American Dental Association claim that metal amalgam fillings are safe, many people do not like the thought that they will have this toxic substance in their teeth.
Two Types of Tooth-Colored Fillings
We offer two kinds of tooth-colored fillings. One is a composite filling that is made of a blend of plastic and ceramic particles. This putty is shaped to fill the prepared tooth, then hardened with a special light. This type of filling is quick, inexpensive, and attractive. It doesn’t require much of your tooth material to be removed. The disadvantage is this type of filling might not be as durable as metal amalgam fillings.
The other type of tooth-colored filling we use is a ceramic inlay or onlay, which we can produce using our CEREC system. This ceramic filling is not only the most attractive filling available, it’s the most durable. It also restores strength to weakened teeth.