For generations, dentists used a material known as silver amalgam, a mix of mercury and metals, to address dental decay. While the amalgam serves its purpose well enough, it has some significant downsides, including the fact that its color looks nothing like natural tooth enamel. Today, many dentists have abandoned amalgam fillings and use tooth-colored fillings instead. On this page, you will learn more about tooth-colored fillings, how they work, and the numerous advantages they offer.
Rather than being made out of a mix of metals, tooth-colored fillings are made out of a flexible composite resin. The resin is composed of a mixture of glass particles, plastic, and other materials. Your dentist can shade-match it to blend in seamlessly with the color of the surrounding dentition. Tooth-colored fillings offer an excellent way to treat mild to moderate tooth decay. They stop decay from worsening to the point where you require a more extensive restorative procedure.
We begin the tooth-colored filling process by making sure you are comfortable. Often, this involves numbing the tooth that we will be working on. Once it is numb, your dentist prepares the tooth by removing decayed tissue from within the cavity. Next, the resin is inserted. A special curing light hardens the filling in a matter of seconds. The last step in the process is to adjust the filling’s size and shape so that it will not interfere with your bite.
From beginning to end, the entire treatment process usually takes less than an hour. You will be able to eat and drink immediately following your appointment. However, you may wish to avoid sticky, hot, and cold foods temporarily because your tooth might be extra sensitive for a few days.
Some indications that you may benefit from a tooth-colored filling include:
One of the most obvious benefits of tooth-colored fillings is their aesthetic appeal. Additional advantages include: