A composite filling is also known as a “tooth-colored filling”, since the material used in the filling can be closely matched to the color of your teeth. Advances in modern dental materials and techniques increasingly offer new ways to create more pleasing, natural-looking smiles. As a result, dentists and patients today have several choices when it comes to selecting materials used to repair missing, worn, damaged or decayed teeth. Composite fillings provide good durability and resistance to fracture in small-to-mid size restorations that need to withstand moderate chewing pressure. Dr. Smart will work with you to determine which material is best for you, depending on the extent of repair, where in your mouth the filling is needed, and cost.
Dr. Smart offers composite resins or “tooth-colored fillings”. However, many people still have silver/mercury fillings in their mouths from years past. These fillings are not particularly pleasing to the eye, and we know that by unavoidable design, silver/mercury fillings ultimately result in a weaker tooth structure and fractures. Depending on the extent of decay and/or fractures will determine if you are a candidate for a composite resin.
Disadvantages of Silver fillings
Silver fillings have many drawbacks. The edges of the silver filling can wear down, become weak or break. This results in the tooth not being protected and lets cavities get started once again. With age, the metal of a silver filling expands, contracts, and can split.
Silver fillings contain 50 percent mercury. They can corrode, leak and cause stains on your teeth and gums.
Fortunately, silver fillings can safely be replaced with a composite resin or a tooth-colored restoration.
Advantages of Tooth-Colored Restorations
Porcelain inlays and tooth-colored restorations (onlays) create fillings that are not only beautiful (or unnoticeable) but also add strength to weakened teeth. These restorations are esthetically pleasing and very strong thanks to new bonding technologies.
There are many advantages to tooth-colored restorations. Resin onlays are bonded to the teeth creating a tight, superior fit to the natural tooth. Such restorations can be used in instances where much of the tooth structure has been lost. The tooth remains intact and stronger.
Since the resin used in tooth-colored restorations contain fluoride this can help prevent decay. The resin wears like natural teeth and does not require placement at the gum line, which is healthier for your gums!
The result is a beautiful smile!
Replacing Silver Fillings with a Tooth-Colored Restoration
You can have your silver fillings replaced with tooth-colored restorations (onlays). This process requires two appointments.
Your First Appointment:
- The old filling is removed along with any additional decay.
- An impression is made of your teeth. A model of your teeth is made and sent to the lab.
- A temporary onlay is placed on the tooth.
At the Lab: A resin is carefully placed into the model of your teeth. It is then designed to look natural.
Your Second Appointment:
- The temporary onlay is removed.
- A conditioning gel is placed on your tooth to prepare it for the new onlay.
- Bonding cement is placed on the tooth and a high intensity light bonds the resin to the tooth.
- The tooth is then polished.
Your teeth are restored to a natural look and feel, they are stronger and the tooth is protected!
After Tooth Colored Restorations
Read our home instructions on after Composite Fillings (White Fillings).
For more information about Dental Fillings or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Smart:
Smart Family Dentistry
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