The days when tooth ailments and cavities could only be treated with unsightly metal fillings are gone. Today, modern tooth-colored fillings made of durable composite resin or porcelain can be bonded to teeth for a stronger, more natural-look. These revolutionary fillings are easy to apply and are virtually undetectable.
Advantages to tooth-colored fillings include:
- aesthetics (color closely matches the natural tooth)
- more support from the chemical bonding to tooth structure
- less removal of tooth structure is necessary
- compatibility with dental sealants allow a tooth to be filled and sealed for further protection
- bonding creates less chance for tooth decay
Silver-amalgam fillings contain mercury, an unstable alloy subject to corrosion. These types of fillings can expand and contract with temperature changes which can cause cracks in the tooth structure. Because the material isn’t bonded, micro leakage and decay can begin to develop in these cracks. Over time, the decay can spread under the filling until either a large chunk of the tooth fractures off, or a root canal procedure or crown restoration is necessary.
The vast majority of patients are now opting for tooth-colored fillings when they need to fill in a cavity. The application process is quick and easy. The affected tooth is first cleared out of all decay, and the area is cleaned. Then the ingredients for the filling are mixed and placed directly into the cavity or desired area where the material hardens.
The average tooth-colored filling will last between nine to 12 years depending on the patient’s oral habits.