A dentist will likely recommend a dental filling procedure if you have a decayed tooth. Initially, only silver or amalgam fillings were available. While still in use today, concerns have risen about its safety due to mercury ingredients. The visible appearance of the filling is also a major concern among many people.
Thanks to innovations in dentistry, you can now repair tooth cavities with tooth-colored filling materials like porcelain and composite resin. Below is a highlight of the key benefits and drawbacks of tooth-colored fillings to help you decide what is best for you.
Unlike amalgam fillings which contain toxic ingredients like mercury, tooth-colored fillings are entirely safe. Placing the fillings is straightforward, painless, and takes less than one hour.
The dentist may numb you during the procedure to reduce discomfort and anxiety. Next, they will clean the tooth by removing decayed or damaged portions of the tooth – creating hollow spaces. The dentist places a filling material to seal the treated tooth to protect it from further damage. Newburyport Family Dental offers tooth-colored filings in Newburyport, MA.
Colored fillings like amalgam and gold are highly visible and don’t blend well with natural teeth. Tooth-colored fillings like composite and porcelain blend perfectly with natural teeth, giving you a brighter and aesthetically appealing smile. No one will notice the filling when eating, speaking, or laughing. It will look and feel like a natural tooth.
Since tooth-colored fillings contain non-porous materials, they resist stains and discoloration better than natural teeth. They also don’t cause teeth discoloration like amalgam fillings. Still, limit staining habits, as your filling can stain over time. Unlike your natural tooth, you can’t whiten dental restorations with teeth whitening treatments. They will need replacing to whiten your smile if they get noticeable stains.
Good dental habits like daily brushing, flossing, and regular dental checkups will preserve your filling in perfect condition. On average, a tooth-colored filling lasts for 7 – 15 years, depending on the material. Porcelain fillings are more durable than composite. Avoid chewing hard items like ice. Extreme force can cause the filling to fall or crack, exposing your tooth to further infections.
Placing some fillings like amalgam or gold requires a significant amount of the tooth’s enamel to be removed. It can weaken your tooth and make it susceptible to cracks. Only a minimal part of the tooth’s enamel is removed with tooth-colored fillings. Placing tooth-colored filings is more conservative and leaves more of the healthy tooth’s structure intact.
Like most treatments, tooth-colored fillings do have some cons. Still, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. Common cons of tooth-colored fillings include:
The biggest drawback of tooth-colored fillings is that they are priced slightly higher than colored fillings, specifically amalgam fillings. Most people opt for amalgam fillings because they are cheaper.
Some tooth-colored fillings like composite resin are less durable than colored fillings like gold and amalgam. On average, a composite filling lasts for about 7 – 10 years, while amalgam fillings last for 15 or more years.
Tooth-colored filling materials like composite resin can easily chip or crack when exposed to extreme forces. For that reason, they are mainly for front tooth restorations. Colored filings like amalgam and gold fillings are powerful and withstand great forces of chewing and grinding foods.
While non-porous, tooth-colored filling materials like composite and porcelain can stain or appear dull over time due to exposure to staining agents. To keep your fillings brighter and beautiful longer, avoid smoking and limit your consumption of highly pigmented items like soda, coffee, red wine, and tomato sauces. For the next 72 hours after the procedure, strictly stay on a white diet.
Since the procedure may entail shaving a small portion of the tooth’s enamel and removing decayed parts, it’s normal to experience minor tooth sensitivity. Fortunately, the effects should fade away within a few days. Be sure to notify your dentist if something feels off.
Ready to repair tooth cavities with tooth-colored dental fillings? Contact our cosmetic dentists in Newburyport, MA, to schedule your appointment today.