5 Benefits of Tooth Coloured Fillings
For a lot of patients the choice is easy - silver metal fillings or tooth coloured fillings? For most, the reason doesn't go much beyond the fact that these fillings look natural and part of the tooth structure itself. We all know that a dental filling is used to fill a hole in your tooth that is generally caused by tooth decay. In some instances, filling are also used to repair chipped teeth.
A tooth coloured filling (or composite filling) is made from silica and plastic (composite resin). It is the closest match to the teeth in terms of colour and strength. The material used for tooth coloured fillings also has similar translucency to natural teeth.
There are several reasons why you may choose to have tooth coloured fillings over other alternatives. Let's explore what tooth coloured fillings actually are and their benefits and advantages:
The actual procedure (tooth restoration) involves the dentist removing tooth decay and making sure the tooth is clean before applying any composite material.
The tooth coloured resin is added to the affect area - essentially filling the hole that the tooth decay has caused. The tooth coloured resin is colour matched to the surrounding tooth structure. The dentist will round and shape the material so it reflects you natural tooth shape and bite. Next is the application of a curing light to harden the material and ensure that it has bonded to your natural tooth.
Depending on how many teeth require restoration, a tooth restoration involving composite material can generally be undertaken in a single appointment.
Natural Looking & Aesthetically Appealing
As we have already hinted, one of the biggest benefits of tooth coloured fillings are that they are natural looking. Prior to composite fillings, traditional materials included silver amalgam and gold.
The composite material can be coloured matched to your natural teeth so they totally blend with your existing teeth. So unlike the past where you could see metal fillings when you talk, eat, yawn or laugh, with composite material, no one even knows that you have fillings!
This has obvious aesthetic benefits and with a natural looking teeth you can smile with confidence.
Tooth coloured fillings are long lasting provided you take care of them. This means having a good oral health routine such as brushing and flossing and regular checkups and professional dental cleanings.
It also means avoiding chewing on hard objects (e.g pens) and certain foods like lollies and ice. If you put too much pressure on the filling you risk cracking them or dislodging them altogether.
Silver amalgam is known for containing small traces of mercury. Even though the quantity is very low and not deemed dangerous, many patients prefer to opt out of amalgam fillings. In fact, it is possible to have your existing amalgam fillings removed and replaced with composite resin.
Less Tooth Structure Is Removed
A very important benefit of tooth coloured fillings is that in its application to the tooth, less natural structure of the tooth needs to be removed for the material to bond. But what does this actually mean? The best way to understand this is by comparing the difference in the preparation for the bonding process with amalgams and composite fillings.
After the cavity is cleaned by removing debris and the tooth decay matter, with amalgam fillings there is often a need to shape the tooth and make it ready for the amalgam to be placed. It is important to note that there is no chemical adhesion between amalgam and tooth material. This means the tooth needs to be undercut. A mechanical retention (such as dovetailing) is undertaken by the dentist to ensure the amalgam stays put. In simpler terms, the dentist cuts away more of the natural tooth structure in order for the amalgam to be successfully placed within the tooth.
In contrast, tooth-coloured fillings do not need the tooth to be undercut. This is because there is a chemical adhesion between the composite material and the tooth. More tooth is preserved and greater tooth structure is retained. A win-win situation!
Schedule Your Appointment Today!
Would you like to learn more about tooth coloured fillings and whether they are right for you?
Call our friendly staff at Woodville & Seaton Dental Clinic on (08) 8268 5422.