When you laugh, speak, or smile, the last thing you want to do is show the world your dental work. Fortunately, tooth-colored fillings provide an aesthetically pleasing alternative to silver, or amalgam, fillings.
Composite resin, made of smooth glass and plastic particles, fills the hole left by tooth decay without taking away from the overall appearance of your teeth. Tooth-colored fillings are also a more conservative solution to amalgam, keeping more of your healthy tooth structure intact. Drs. Julia and Brandon White provide white fillings at White Cosmetic & Family Dentistry.
What’s the difference between tooth-colored and silver filings? Method of placement, sensitivity, and appearance are some of the most significant.
The most noticeable difference between white and silver fillings is, of course, in their appearance. A silver filling is visible forever. But with composite resin’s precise color-matching guide, your dentist can select a shade that closely matches your surrounding tooth enamel.
Placement is also different between the two options. To place a silver filling, your dentist has to remove a larger portion of your tooth than is required with composite resin fillings. But more of your healthy tooth structure remains where it should be with a white filling, and bonding the composite material actually restores up to 90 percent of the tooth’s original strength.
Because composite resin can better withstand changes in temperature than dental amalgam, they are less sensitive to heat and cold. And with less constricting and expanding, the tooth structure surrounding the filling gets a break from excess pressure that can cause enamel to break or weaken.
Tooth-colored fillings also set within minutes under a special ultraviolet light. Silver fillings take as long as 12 hours to completely dry.
Both tooth-colored fillings and silver fillings can be expected to last many years after their application.
Patients who wish to improve the appearance of existing silver dental work may choose filling replacement. Tooth-colored fillings can address new cavities or replace existing silver dental work. Some patients choose preventive filling replacement to avoid the potential for future problems, and others wish to avoid the potential for mercury exposure with dental amalgam. You and your dentist can discuss the benefits of and need for filling replacement.
Even when no decay is present, the same material used in tooth-colored fillings can reshape cosmetically flawed teeth. Minor chips, slight gaps, stains, and other imperfections are erased in just one visit with cosmetic bonding.
An excellent alternative to more expensive and time-consuming cosmetic treatments, tooth bonding is pain free and long lasting. Composite resin is porous, however, making it more vulnerable to stains than your natural tooth enamel. Patients should avoid highly pigmented foods and beverages, tobacco, and maintain excellent dental hygiene after cosmetic bonding.
Do you have a new cavity that needs a filling? Cosmetic flaws? Or perhaps you would like to discuss having your old fillings replaced with white ones—we are here to help you regain the health and beauty of your smile. Please schedule an appointment with our office today!