Most of us try our hardest to maintain a robust oral hygiene routine so that we can preserve our natural teeth for as long as possible. Nevertheless, dental decay still occurs, and it can have a significant impact on the appearance as well as the health of our teeth.
Since our teeth are difficult to hide and our smile is considered by many to be our most important feature, it is essential that it is in the best possible condition to enable us to live our best lives. People who are unhappy with the appearance of their teeth suffer from social anxiety, embarrassment, and even depression. The good news is that that experts have recognized the importance of retaining an attractive smile and functional dental restorations are being adapted to fulfill this need. One such restoration is tooth-colored fillings.
What are tooth-colored fillings and when are they needed?
Tooth-colored fillings, also sometimes called white fillings, are a very popular form of restoration. When a tooth is affected by decay it is necessary for your dentist to remove it before it can spread and cause further damage to the tooth. To do this, the area must be drilled which causes a hole in the tooth. However, once all of the decay has been removed and the area is clean, it is necessary to fill the hole to prevent food debris and bacteria from becoming trapped inside – something which would re-instigate the problem.
A filling is the name of the restoration used to quite literally fill the hole that has been left. In the past, the only material available for use in fillings was a soft metal called amalgam that could be placed inside and molded as required. However, as a dark greyish-silver in color, it is extremely obvious once placed in the tooth. This means that when you have amalgam restorations and you open your mouth, it becomes very evident that you had had decay and needed work to restore your tooth. Unsurprisingly, a mouth full of metal fillings isn’t considered very attractive.
Tooth-colored fillings are primarily made from composite resin – a combination of glass and plastic that is blended into a workable material. Resin is available in a variety of different shades which enables it to be closely matched to your affected tooth, ensuring that the restoration looks very discreet.
Why choose tooth-colored fillings?
There are a variety of advantages associated with choosing tooth-colored fillings for your dental restoration. These include:
- Greater discretion, since the filling will blend seamlessly with your tooth, making it impossible to discern.
- No discoloration to your teeth. Amalgam fillings are known to ‘leak’ color onto the teeth over time, causing them to appear greyish. This isn’t the case with tooth-colored fillings.
- Safer for your teeth. The amalgam used in regular fillings has a tendency to expand and contract when exposed to different temperatures. This can put pressure onto your tooth, causing damage and other problems. However, the size of composite resin fillings doesn’t change when heat or cold is applied, making them safer for your teeth.
- Less of your natural tooth requires removal than is the case with amalgam fillings. This helps to preserve the strength and durability of your natural tooth.
- A more attractive smile. Since a great deal of emphasis is placed on appearance and in particular, the way that our teeth look, you can relax knowing that your teeth look healthy and more attractive than they would with amalgam fillings.
- Confidence in your appearance. Looking good helps us to feel good and having confidence in your smile and your appearance can make it easier to embrace new opportunities both at work and in your personal life.
If you are considering tooth-colored fillings and would like more information about the process, or if you want to see if you can exchange your amalgam fillings for tooth-colored alternatives, please contact our offices where our experienced dental team will be happy to help.