Tooth Colored Fillings
Replace the gold and silver of the past with natural-looking materials.
What are Tooth-Colored Fillings?
In the 1970s, "white fillings" came into common use. These "tooth-colored fillings" were made of a plastic dental resin filled with microscopic filler particles and were called composites. When dental composites were first introduced, they could only be used in the front teeth, because they weren't strong enough to withstand the chewing pressure of the back teeth.
Today, these fillings are colored to match the patient's teeth and are practically invisible to the untrained eye. Tooth-colored fillings can be used for aesthetic and/or medical purposes. These tooth-colored fillings can replace old and worn dental amalgam, gold or other metal fillings.
What are Tooth-Colored Fillings made of?
Tooth-colored fillings, also known as Composite, are a combination of multiple ceramic type materials of various sizes, shapes, and properties (like quartz and silica, to name a few) added to a liquid type resin. These materials are more resilient and long-lasting. Dr. Glasser is proud to offer tooth-colored fillings to his patients and encourages patients to take advantage of their natural appearance.
Tooth-colored fillings are bonded directly to the affected tooth to restore small areas of decay or to replace current fillings. They are placed in the same way as traditional metal fillings but may take a little longer to perform. The tooth must be kept dry and free of saliva. After the decay is removed, Dr. Glasser applies an adhesive to the tooth along with the white composite filling, which is then hardened into place with a special light.
What is Bonding?
Bonding is a chemical process by which dental restorations can be micro-mechanically attached to teeth. It often involves multiple steps to create an adhesive bond but not necessarily a true chemical bond. This is an important technique because it allows dentists the ability to be conservative in their treatment of tooth decay. In the past, cavities were treated with amalgam, also known as silver fillings. In the case of silver fillings, a greater amount of tooth structure is removed in order to create retentive features for the restorations to hold onto.
benefits of tooth-colored fillings
- Esthetics - Tooth-colored fillings/composite have the ability to closely match the appearance of your own natural teeth and can therefore restore your tooth almost exactly back to its original state. The high esthetic results created by this material is a major reason most people prefer tooth-colored fillings over the ‘older style’ silver fillings/amalgam.
- Structural reinforcement of the tooth - The physics and the process of bonding a tooth-colored filling/composite to a natural tooth is what allows for its structural reinforcement. The composite material behaves and functions in a similar way as natural teeth. As these restorations expand and contract with a similar modulus to that of natural tooth structure, they therefore can strengthen the tooth by holding it together. As a result of these properties, we are less likely to see tooth fracture.
- Thermal insulation, reduction of hot and cold sensitivity - The ceramic type composition of tooth-colored fillings are intrinsically less thermally conductive than the metal silver fillings. As these tooth-colored fillings prevent your tooth from reaching these extremes of hot and cold temperatures, we are less likely to see sensitivity and resulting toothaches.
- Preservation of tooth structure - As a result of the micro-mechanical bonding process, the need for extensive tooth reduction is a thing of the past. We are able to be much more conservative and maintain the integrity of the natural tooth as these restorations have their own intrinsic strength.
Are tooth-colored fillings safer than silver fillings?
The controversy of amalgam fillings is something that I have lectured on many times. The controversy is based on questionable findings that believed that the mercury present in these silver fillings have the ability to cause diseases such as multiple sclerosis and dementia or even could have effects on pregnant patients. However, current and more up to date research have proven that silver fillings and their associated mercury does not pose a health risk.
Cost Of Composite Fillings
We feel very strongly that we never want a patient to decide their course of treatment based on cost. With this in mind, we have aligned the prices of both tooth-colored fillings and silver fillings to be exactly the same cost. By eliminating the cost as a deciding factor, patients are able to choose the restoration that not only is most appropriate for their treatment but also best fits their needs.