Tooth Colored Fillings
Tooth Colored Fillings
At Gold Coast Smiles, you’ll never have to worry about receiving noticeable, unesthetic silver fillings as a treatment for your cavities. Instead, we exclusively use fillings that are tooth colored and metal free to help our patients enjoy cosmetic benefits for their smiles as well as a renewed oral health. Our tooth colored fillings, also known as composite restorations or bondings, are made of a biocompatible composite resin for a sturdy, aesthetic alternative to silver, or amalgam, fillings. In fact, at our Gold Coast Smiles dental office we don’t carry amalgam, or silver fillings at all. Each of our composite fillings are custom matched to the shade of the tooth being repaired, providing outstanding long lasting durability and a healthier, superior alternative to amalgam restorations. Because of the many aesthetic, health and functional benefits composite bondings possess, we have entirely eliminated the need of utilizing any silver or metallic based restorations in our office.
Who Can Benefit From Tooth Colored Fillings, or Bondings?
Tooth colored fillings have many everyday uses that are both cosmetically and functionally oriented. These fillings are an excellent option for filling a small cavity, replacing a small old silver or composite filling, and repairing minor defects on an otherwise healthy tooth. In all of the above cases, a resin composite is pre-selected based on its accurate shade match and is meticulously sculpted onto the damaged portion of the tooth and a light is used to completely harden the resin material within seconds for immediate usage. These composite fillings can be used on both front as well as back teeth and can be applied to multiple surfaces of the same tooth.
Limitations of the bonding material exist when the cavity or old filling is large, if the tooth to be restored as cracks or fractures, or if there are heavy natural chewing forces involved on the tooth in question. In these cases, because we also have to account for the structural integrity of the tooth, other more durable treatment options such as porcelain fillings (Inlays) or Porcelain Crowns may need to be considered.
In addition to filling new cavities, composite resin can also correct minor dental flaws that take away from the appearance of your smile. Typically completed in just one visit, cosmetic bonding can repair chipped or broken teeth, close gaps between teeth, and improve the color of stained or discolored teeth. It is a painless, non-invasive procedure that does not require the use of local anesthesia. Tooth bonding offers a more affordable and less invasive alternative to the treatment of minor cosmetic defects as compared to more complex cosmetic procedures, like porcelain veneers.
Advantages of Tooth Colored Fillings:
The most obvious reason why many practitioners like ourselves favor composite restorations over other metal based fillings is for their superior aesthetic appeal. Unlike silver based amalgam or even gold fillings of the past, tooth-colored fillings provide us with the option of placing a naturally appearing and conservative restoration in a diseased or damaged tooth. At our office we have the ability to precisely match the color of your composite filling to the shade of your tooth. Because not everyone’s teeth are the same color and there are varying shades and translucencies present on the same tooth often, we don’t like to label these restorations as “white fillings” as many other offices do. Instead of just filling the tooth with an arbitrary shade of white, we keep several different shades of composite on hand so that we can fully customize the color of your composite bonding. This includes placing different shades as well as mixing and matching different colors together to apply various gradients of shading and translucencies onto the tooth in question.
Amalgam fillings, besides being completely unsightly and unhealthy, are also responsible for leading to cracked teeth. These mercury based fillings do not bond or adhere to your teeth. As you ingest foods and beverages of varying temperatures, the fillings expand and contract with the temperature change in your mouth. When amalgam fillings expand, they strain against the tooth in which they have been placed. Because the tooth has already been compromised by a cavity, its brittle nature and the changing form of the amalgam filling will cause the tooth to crack.
In the case of composite fillings, the resin material actually bonds to your teeth structure to help restore its original strength. Also, unlike metal fillings, the material won’t expand and contract as much because of the fluctuating temperatures inside your mouth. This results in a more durable restoration with less associated complications.
Preserves More Tooth Structure
Placing a composite filling is far more conservative than placing silver fillings. Metal based fillings cannot bond onto teeth and extra drilling is involved to design proper retention for the filling to hold in place. This involves the sacrifice of healthy tooth structure resulting in unnecessary larger fillings. Since a tooth colored filling is bonded directly onto your natural tooth structure, we only need to remove the damaged portion of your tooth and are able to better preserve more healthy unaffected tooth structure resulting in a smaller more conservative restoration.
Simply put, silver amalgam fillings contain mercury. Although the amount of mercury in silver fillings is low and studies suggest amalgam fillings pose no potential dangers to your health, we prefer to side with caution and utilize materials that are proven to be safer and healthier. Composite gives our patients are safer mercury-free option with overall superior results and benefits.
I Want To Replace My Old Dark Metal Fillings, Where Do I Start?
You can read about how we safely remove mercury based fillings and call our office to set up a consultation appointment. We’d be happy to arrange a time where we can discuss treatment options that best suits your needs and get you started on your way to a new healthier metal free smile.
Dental Bonding FAQ
Who is a candidate for dental bonding or tooth-colored fillings?
There are two basic types of dental bonding:
- The first entails restorations that repair diseased or damaged teeth along with any old fillings that need to be replaced. Essentially, anyone who requires a simple filling for cavities or requires an old small filling to be replaced can have a composite bonding placed. Individuals who present with more complex conditions such as decay large in size, extensively damaged or broken down teeth and older fillings that are large in size or have adjacent fractures present will require more complex treatment options. Composite fillings will not be the treatment of choice in these cases due to some of the limitations they possess.
- The second type of treatment involving bonding is strictly cosmetic in nature. Anyone who has minor cosmetic defects on their front teeth can consider cosmetic bonding as a conservative treatment choice. Cosmetic bonding on anterior teeth can be used to close small spaces, mask areas of discoloration, repair small chips and worn down edges and help straighten slightly crooked teeth to give a straighter appearance.
Are there any disadvantages to bonding? Will they cause sensitivity?
This depends on the skill and expertise of the dentist. At Gold Coast Smiles, we’ve been using composite bonding exclusively for all of our fillings for over a decade with tremendous success. Placing tooth colored fillings is a very technique sensitive process, meaning it is an extremely precise, detailed procedure. If not done carefully utilizing proven guidelines, they can result in a filling that will cause tooth sensitivity, can leak, crack or fail. Because we’ve been utilizing these techniques and materials for years, we understand the precision needed to achieve top quality restorations that last with minimal to no post-operative discomfort.