When it comes to dental fillings there are certainly options but, like anything else, it’s always best to weigh the pros and cons. With cutting edge technology and modern dental advancements there are new ways to create a more pleasing, natural looking smile. Researchers are constantly working to develop more attractive materials, such as plastic and ceramic compounds, that look remarkably like your natural teeth. Today, more and more patients are asking our Greenlawn general dentist, Roger Curtiss, DDS, about tooth-colored dental fillings because when talking, smiling, and laughing, they want their teeth to look like their own. These fillings, composite resin (a mixture of acrylic plastics, quartz fillers and colorants), are made from tooth-colored materials and they restore the natural appearance of a decayed or previously filled tooth.
Since they blend so well with tooth enamel and don’t look like fillings, Dr. Curtiss may recommend them if the teeth to be restored are near the front of your mouth. This is where you have to weigh the options with our Greenlawn general dentist about whether to go with a more aesthetically pleasing filling that has a more cosmetic advantage or the more traditional, less expensive, silver colored filling, or amalgam (a mixture of silver-tin alloy, copper and mercury), that is a stronger filling and lasts about 20% longer. There is also the option of using the tooth-colored fillings in the front where they will be seen more and the silver, amalgam fillings in the back.
A composite filling usually requires only one visit, during which your tooth is prepared and restored. One advantage of composite fillings is that they require less of the healthy part of the tooth to be removed. The materials used in composite fillings bond so well to your teeth that it holds the filling in place sufficiently, so less of your own, healthy tooth has to be removed. The procedure for these composite fillings may take a little longer than those for amalgam fillings, because after the decay is removed, the tooth must be kept completely isolated from saliva. The dentist carefully applies an adhesive followed by several thin layers of the tooth-colored composite. Once the filling is in place, it is chemically hardened for less than a minute with a special light. You may want to go with tooth-colored fillings for the obvious cosmetic reasons, but if the decayed area is large, or is subject to heavy chewing pressure, Dr. Curtiss, our Greenlawn general dentist, may recommend the silver, amalgam filling.