One of the most well known treatments of cavities in both children and adults is a filling. When a dentist removes the decayed portion of the affected tooth, it is then “filled” with a substance that will harden and seal the surface of the tooth, preventing further decay. Silver fillings are common, but tooth-colored fillings have greater benefits.
Tooth-colored fillings are made from durable composite resins, while silver fillings are made from a silver-tin alloy, mercury, and copper (silver fillings are also known as amalgam fillings). Patients who are concerned about their mercury levels will appreciate the alternative of a tooth-colored filling.
Resin composite fillings have the added advantage of bonding to the material of the tooth, strengthening the tooth itself.
One of the most obvious benefits of a tooth-colored filling is in the name: the color! The composite resin closely matches both the color and the texture of the surrounding teeth, making the filling less noticeable. Tooth-colored fillings also tend to be more resistant to wear than metal amalgam fillings.
Resin composite fillings have the added advantage of bonding to the material of the tooth, strengthening the tooth itself. This bonding effect means that the filling itself can be smaller than it would be with metal fillings, since metal fillings must cover a certain area of the tooth in order to keep from breaking.
The resin materials used to make tooth-colored fillings are sealant compatible, so the dentist can fill the tooth and seal it in one step. A special light is then held on the filling to harden, or “cure” it. Once the filling sets, it does not require special care outside of basic good oral hygiene habits.
Composite fillings are also less conductive of cold, which means you are less likely to get a sudden toothache because of that bite of frozen yogurt you love to have for dessert.
If you already have metal fillings and avoid smiling too big because of it, ask about replacing them with composite fillings at your next check-up. Contact our experienced Grand Prairie dental team to schedule your next visit.