Tooth-colored fillings were created as an alternative to traditional metal dental fillings. Tooth fillings colored to look like a natural tooth are known as Composite Resin Dental Fillings and are made of a plastic dental resin combined with porcelain and glass particles. These types of fillings are, durable and are way more natural looking than amalgam fillings. If you have a cavity in a tooth or broken fillings or if your teeth are full of mercury fillings, or amalgam fillings you may want to ask your dentist about changing to Tooth-colored fillings. Mercury fillings or amalgam fillings can easily be removed and replaced with far more attractive colored fillings. Research shows that composite fillings actually strengthen your tooth and further protect it from decay. Tooth-colored fillings are a safer and more attractive alternative to older silver amalgam fillings. By precisely matching tooth-colored composite fillings with the natural color of your teeth, a skilled cosmetic dentist is able to provide you with white fillings that are virtually invisible. The removal of amalgam fillings can provide patients with white fillings that provide a more pleasing, silver-free smile.
What are Tooth-colored fillings?
Tooth-colored fillings are made of composite resin and serve to fill cavities just like metal or amalgam fillings. However, tooth-colored fillings are matched to the color of your natural teeth and are virtually invisible. Tooth-colored fillings have become more popular over the years. As the availability of white fillings has increased and the possible dangers associated with amalgam fillings have been publicized, more and more patients are having their cavities filled with beautifully white, tooth-colored fillings.
Advantages & Disadvantages of tooth-colored fillings
- Aesthetics – shade/color can be matched to your natural teeth
- Less Tooth preparation – less tooth structure may need to be removed compared with metal fillings
- Durability – Metal fillings are stronger than tooth-colored fillings
- Chipping – depending on location, tooth-colored fillings can chip off the tooth
Removing and Replacing Old Metal Fillings
When a new cavity needs filling, the vast majority of patients now choose tooth-colored composite fillings. Many patients also opt for the removal of their amalgam fillings as well. These patients want to enhance their cosmetic appearance by ridding their mouths of unsightly silver fillings and replacing them with tooth-colored composite fillings. This simple procedure is an easy way to make a big difference in your smile.
Side Effects Associated with Silver Amalgam Fillings
Silver amalgam fillings contain about 50 percent mercury, a chemical that has been scientifically shown to be more toxic than lead, cadmium, or arsenic. The possibility of mercury leaking from amalgam fillings over time has prompted a movement toward mercury-free dentistry. The mercury in silver amalgam fillings is thought to leave the filling and enter the organs of the body in small amounts throughout life. Some medical practitioners believe this mercury is causing physical and psychological problems in patients. These include neurodegenerative diseases, birth defects, and mental disorders. The debate is ongoing but many patients are opting to remove their amalgam fillings in order to improve their appearance and ease their minds.
Care for tooth-colored fillings
To maintain your fillings, you should follow good oral hygiene practices:
- Brush and floss daily. It is good practice to brush after eating and before bedtime.
- See your dentist for regular professional check-ups and cleanings. If your dentist suspects that a filling might be cracked or is "leaking", further assessment of the situation should be done
- If your tooth is extremely sensitive, if you feel a sharp edge, if you notice a crack in the filling, or if a piece of the filling is missing, call your dentist