When you have a cavity, it is imperative to have it corrected to prevent further damage to your teeth. However, many people often hem and haw about how their teeth will look once your local Cary or Holly Springs dentist puts in the fillings. However, those days are long past now. With tooth-colored fillings, it will be nearly impossible to tell that you have fillings at all, maintaining your beautiful smile.
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What Are Tooth-Colored Fillings?
In the past, when a patient needed a filling, the dentist would use an amalgam of mercury and metal alloy to fill in cavities. While this amalgam was and still is perfectly safe, it looks unnatural on teeth as it is a dull metal strip on otherwise white or yellow teeth (depending on the dental hygiene of the recipient). While dental amalgam still exists, there is a new option on the market: tooth-colored fillings.
Tooth-colored fillings are usually made with composite resin that looks much more similar to the enamel on the exterior of a tooth than does dental amalgam. This means that even though both the dental amalgam and the tooth-colored resin filling both fulfill the same purpose, the tooth-colored filling is nearly invisible if properly cared for.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Tooth-Colored Fillings
Just like any other dental procedure where there are multiple treatment options available, tooth-colored fillings have certain advantages and disadvantages when compared to dental amalgam.
- Appearance: Tooth-colored fillings are nearly impossible to differentiate from regular tooth enamel
- Bonding: Due to the nature of the material, tooth-colored fillings tend to bond better to teeth
- Repair: If damaged, tooth-colored fillings can usually be repaired
- Speed: Tooth-colored fillings tend to harden quickly, minimizing inconvenience and sensitivity
- Cost: Dental amalgam is cheaper than resin filling, and insurers usually will impose a surcharge for using the more expensive option for purely cosmetic reasons
- Longevity: Dental amalgam usually lasts longer than tooth-colored filling
- Toughness: Tooth-colored fillings can be stained or degraded by food and drink such as alcohol, coffee, curry, etc. The resin can also be eroded by prolonged exposure to alcohol.
The Tooth Filling Process
Whether you decide to go forward with standard tooth filling or if you decide to go with tooth-colored fillings it is vital to have the damaged fixed as soon as possible. There are a few steps involved in the tooth filling process but the very first step is analyzing the health of the tooth and the surround area. This will dictate how much work must be performed as well as map out the best way to repair the issue. After the damage has been analyzed we can begin the tooth filling process. Our dental professional will begin by applying a numbing agent directly to the tooth and the surround area, this will help to reduce as much pain as possible during the procedure.
After the numbing agent has set it, our dental professional will begin the process of removing the decay that has taken control of the tooth. Typically the dentist will use a laser based tool or an air abrasion instrument to remove the decay from the tooth. Once the decay and bacteria is removed from the tooth the dentist can begin the process of placing the filling. This involved bonding a resin composite directly to the space within the tooth. In order to make the filling look as much like a natural tooth as possible the dentist will add a tooth-colored material in multiple layers to give it a natural look and feel. Finally the composite material will be shaped and polished to create the finished tooth-colored filling.
Tooth-Colored Fillings FAQ’s
When your teeth and gums surrounding your filling are healthy and well cared for then you can expect your tooth colored filling to last for many years. It is difficult to give an exact estimate for the life expectancy of fillings as it varies depending how well they are cared for. If your fillings are well cared for then you can expect them to last anywhere from 15 to 30 years. It is important to ask your dentist about how long they believe the fillings will last because they have more knowledge on your dental history.
It is important to only use safe methods when it comes to your dental health but we are happy to say that tooth colored fillings are perfectly safe for your dental health. The fillings are a composite resin fillers that look and act very similarly to the natural enamel of your teeth. This makes them look great but also provides your teeth with the added protection that they desperately need. Without the fillings your teeth will be left unprotected which can lead to the spread of bacteria and tartar that will cause more serious problems in the future.
It can be difficult to say which type of filling is the best as the all have their pros and cons. Typically tooth colored fillings are considered to be better because of the protection level they provide but also because of how natural they look. Silver fillings provide excellent protection but they can very noticeable which many patients are self conscious about. The tooth colored filling procedure will typically take slightly longer to perform as it is a more skilled procedure but in the end we find that patients are happy with their choice of tooth colored fillings compared to silver or gold fillings.
Dental fillings are a vital part of protecting your dental health and making sure that your teeth stay as strong as possible in the future. The price of tooth colored fillings will vary depending on the extend of the procedure as well as the dental location that is performing the procedure. To get an accurate price of how much tooth colored fillings will cost we recommend that you stop by our dental practice and talk to one of our dentists.
It can be difficult to replace silver fillings with tooth colored fillings after they have already been placed in the correct position. This isn’t to say it is impossible to do, it is typically not recommended as the removal process can be strenuous on your dental health. At the end of the day, silver fillings aren’t harmful for your health but we understand that many patients dislike the color of them. Please reach out to our family dentist office to learn more about fillings and what we can do to help.
Many dental insurance companies will offer plans that cover the majority of routine dental procedures as well as necessary repair work such as fillings. Typically fillings are considered to be a necessary procedure as it provides future protection for your dental wellbeing. There are a variety of different insurance plans so it is important to reach out with our dental office to understand what your insurance will cover or wont cover.
Schedule An Appointment For Tooth Colored Fillings
We offer tooth colored fillings at both of our dentist office locations. Please fill out the form below or call one of our locations by clicking on the buttons below.
Holly Springs Office