In times gone by, it was standard practice to fill teeth using an amalgam of different metals. Today, this is far less common, as dentists use materials that look, and react far more naturally than dingy metal fillings.
Tooth-colored composites are similar in appearance and composition to other restorative options like crowns, veneers, inlays and onlays. With these safe, advanced, durable plastics, you can be assured of a healthy, beautiful smile that will last a long time.
Amalgams do not bond with a patient’s teeth – rather, they rest on the tooth, providing a certain level of protection for the dentin layer. This is the porous inner part of your tooth, and it’s the part that transmits sensation, meaning that it’s where you feel the pain if your tooth is decayed.
Today’s tooth-colored composites mimic the natural dentin, and bond with the tooth. The connection with the enamel is stronger, the fillings are more comfortable, and the protection is more effective. With a good bond between the composite materials, the dentin, and the enamel, it’s possible to create a tooth that appears totally natural, and even works in the same way as your original tooth. Tooth-colored filling materials can repair your teeth, and even restore their internal shape.
Three methods are used to repair your teeth using tooth-colored filling materials.
Direct fillings: This type of filling consists of small amounts of the tooth-colored filling material being inserted into your cavities. It is applied in layers, and then set using special lights. The process can be completed in a single visit.
Semi-direct fillings: This type of filling is used for larger areas. Layering is used, as with direct fillings, but the restoration is actually removed and set outside your mouth. Then, once it’s set, it is bonded to your tooth. Computer assisted design may be used to help create the restoration.
Indirect fillings: This procedure is used for highly complex, or very large restorations. If the tooth is too badly damaged to fill, then a restoration is created to replace or to crown most of what remains. This is not a same-day procedure. The compound used, however, is the same as with any other tooth-colored filling.
Whether you require a simple filling, or a significant restoration, the compounds used are the same. The advantage to tooth-colored fillings is that they have the same strength as a healthy, living tooth, and are indistinguishable from your natural enamel. Your dentist can mix a tooth-colored filling that will exactly match your natural teeth. Usually, a more polished material will be used for front teeth, and a stronger composite for back teeth. Regardless of the color and composition, maintenance is easy – simply follow good oral hygiene practices as you always do, and get regular dental checkups.
At Tribeca Smiles, your smile is important to us. If you’d like to learn more about the benefits and comfort of tooth-colored fillings, contact us today. We’d be pleased to help you achieve the smile you’ve always wanted.