When a Dentist Would Recommend Tooth Colored Fillings
When teeth become damaged due to cavities or injury, dentists may use tooth colored fillings, also called composite fillings, to prevent extraction and may even recommend them to their patients instead of traditional silver amalgam material. There are several circumstances that make this natural-looking material more suitable during a tooth repair.
What are composite fillings made of?
Silver amalgam fillings were widely used over the past several decades for tooth repair, and this material, which includes a blend of silver, zinc, copper, and tin, is still in use today. However, advances in dental technology now allow dentists to offer composite fillings, which are made from non-metallic materials, including:
- Plastic blends
- Silica glass
- Ceramic particles
When mixed, this creates a natural-looking resin that dentists can bond with a damaged tooth so the repair is less noticeable. While tooth colored fillings are a popular choice for many patients, dentists may also recommend them for certain procedures because of their possible benefits.
When dentists use composite fillings, the treatment of cavities typically takes less time per appointment because the material shapes easily no matter the size of the cavity. Once the filling is in place, the dentist in attendance hardens the material with an ultraviolet curing light. This makes the process simpler and usually means less time in the dentist's chair for the patient, which may especially benefit patients who experience dental anxiety.
A more natural appearance
Dentists may recommend composite fillings for patients who want a more natural solution for teeth damaged by cavities or accidents. This is especially important for teeth that are visible when a patient smiles, as tooth colored fillings are difficult to see, even close up. For example, a dentist may recommend this type of filling to a patient with a chipped front tooth, as the composite resin can be shaped to replace the missing piece and then bonded with the rest of the tooth to complete the repair.
Dentists may recommend composite fillings to patients who want a durable and long-lasting option for their teeth. When patients brush and floss properly after receiving this filling, they can expect it to last for well over a decade. If a filling requires a touch-up after that time, the nature of the fillings can make this a simple procedure.
Lower risk of tooth material loss
When dentists use metal amalgam fillings to repair a cavity, they may have to remove more of a tooth's surface to place the material. In contrast, composite fillings bond to the teeth, allowing dentists to fill a cavity without having to remove additional areas of the tooth to make room for the filling.
Dental patients have a variety of choices for their filling material, but dentists may recommend composite material depending on the type of repair needed and the type of aesthetic the patient desires. From fixing cavities to restoring chipped or broken teeth, composite fillings offer an array of benefits when it comes to creating a healthy, beautiful smile.
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