There are a number of options available for patients in need of dental fillings. Teeth can be filled with anything from silver amalgam fillings (consisting of mercury mixed with zinc, silver, copper or tin) to tooth-coloured fillings, such as glass ionomer, porcelain or composite resin.
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Let’s take a look at the most widely-used tooth-coloured filling options available for patients in need of dental care treatments:
Also known as plastic or white fillings, composite fillings have many advantages:
- Appearance: The fillings will be the same colour as your natural teeth.
- Cost: They are cheaper than gold fillings.
- Convenience: Since these are considered direct fillings, your dentist should (in most cases) be able to perform the procedure in one visit.
Your dentist will first clean the decay from the tooth and place bonding material inside the hole. Thin layers of composite resin are then placed in the hole and a special light will help solidify the layers. Once the final layer solidifies, your dentist will shape the filling material so it looks natural.
Keep in mind that this type of filling can break easily (especially in comparison to silver or gold fillings). Although composite fillings are cheaper than gold fillings, they are more expensive than amalgam/silver fillings. Recurring tooth decay is a bigger problem with composite fillings compared to amalgam or gold fillings.
Porcelain material is strong—making it one of the most popular types of dental ceramic used by dentists. In fact, porcelain and metal can be pooled together to create a sturdy, tooth-coloured crown. This porcelain-metal combo can be used almost anywhere in the mouth, the dental porcelain is the same colour as your natural teeth and the fillings will last a long time.
This material might not be the best choice on teeth that you bite down hard on (such as molars). And since they are indirect fillings, two appointments are needed to complete the procedure.
Like composite fillings, glass ionomer material also closely resembles the colour of natural teeth. The material contains fluoride, which can help prevent reoccurring tooth decay. Glass ionomer material doesn’t have to be applied in layers, so they are much simpler to place in comparison to composite fillings. It is also more affordable than gold fillings.
Glass ionomer materials are used on teeth where you don’t bite down hard as the material may not last as long as other fillings.
Benefits of Tooth-Coloured Fillings
There are many benefits of tooth-coloured fillings. Unlike gold or silver fillings, tooth-coloured fillings are virtually invisible because they are made to match the colour of your tooth as closely as possible so that others will be none the wiser. Also, tooth-coloured fillings are much more malleable than their silver and gold counterparts. This means, they bond better with your teeth, and the dentist is not required to drill as large a hole into your tooth as they would have to with amalgam fillings. The practical and aesthetic advantages of tooth-coloured fillings are manifold.
No one will ever know that you even had cavities unless you tell them because tooth-coloured fillings are like camouflage for your teeth. The only people who will know you have them are you and your dentist. After having just discovered that you had cavities to begin with, this knowledge can be a huge relief and it can help to restore and even improve your confidence about your teeth. Tooth-coloured fillings allow you to smile as widely as you please without having to worry about other people seeing your fillings. You can also rest assured that they are working hard to fix the problems in your teeth.
Better Looking than Gold or Silver Fillings
As with other technological advancements in the dental industry, the look and feel of tooth-coloured fillings has also improved over time. The composites with which they are made as well as their bonding agents are much stronger than they previously were, giving a much cleaner and natural overall appearance. Also, tooth-coloured fillings are available in a wide variety of shades that are made to match the natural colour of anyone’s tooth, whereas gold and silver fillings stick out like sore thumbs.
Reshape Teeth and Require Less Tooth Removal
Other than the obvious visual appeal, tooth-coloured fillings also serve the practical purpose for which they are intended: reshaping and repairing your teeth. In order to place fillings of any kind, the dentist is usually required to remove the decayed tooth to make room for the filling and secure its bond. Because silver and gold fillings are made of a mixture of metals, they do not naturally bond with the composition of your teeth, which means the dentist must even remove healthy parts of the tooth to fit in the amalgam. Tooth-coloured fillings, however, are composed of plastic and glass, which melds better with the natural structure of the tooth. Therefore, the dentist does not have to remove as much of the tooth in order to fit in the filling.
Restore Strength of the Tooth
Decayed teeth are usually weakened. Tooth-coloured fillings act as reinforcements that help to strengthen and revitalize them.
Durable and No Galvanism
Patients with amalgam fillings have reported that when their fillings come into contact with other metals or metallic elements, they feel a minor electric shock in their mouth known as galvanism. This does not occur with tooth-coloured fillings because they are composed of glass and plastic particles that have a stronger threshold against sensitivity.
Amalgam fillings only contain a small amount of mercury—an amount so miniscule that, realistically, the chances of contracting mercury poisoning are almost non-existent. Still, most people are not willing to take this risk. Tooth-coloured fillings are quite safe and the composition of different chemicals does not appear to cause any health issues.
If you’re in need of a dental specialist in Etobicoke, then contact Princeview Dental. As one of the leading providers of dental services in the Etobicoke area, we offer our patients a number of prime options for dental fillings. Contact us today for more information.