Cosmetic dentistry has come a long way in the last several decades. Tooth-colored fillings are a perfect example. Once upon a time, having a cavity filled meant a very noticeable and not too attractive metal filling. How times have changed! Today, dentists have an impressive array of tools and materials to work with. And repairing a tooth has become a lot like sculpting a fine piece of art.
Tooth-colored fillings are made of composite resin or porcelain. Composite resin is a mixture of plastic and glass that is not just good-looking, but also better for your teeth. Here’s why: Metal fillings may require your dentist to remove healthy parts of your tooth with a drill to create a little ledge or “undercut” that locks the filling in place. Modern filling materials don’t need those undercuts to stay in place. In fact, today’s tooth-colored filling materials physically attach or bond to natural tooth structure.
Composite resin can be applied directly onto your teeth, sculpted, and then hardened with a special light. It’s really amazing how artistic and lifelike tooth restorations with composite resins are. Here’s something else to consider: Metal fillings are very strong but they are also stiff, which can actually stress the teeth and make them more susceptible to cracking. Tooth-colored fillings are strong yet flexible. When you bite or chew, they absorb and transfer the forces similar to natural teeth. So they mimic your teeth not only in color but also in function.
When your cavity is deeper or too large to use composite resin, your dentist may suggest a porcelain filling. Sometimes, with the use of new digital technology, the dentist can fabricate the porcelain filling as you wait. More often, it is crafted in a dental laboratory and then delivered to your dentist to place in your tooth during a subsequent visit. Either way, it will be virtually impossible to tell that your tooth has a filling. If you want to find out how tooth-colored fillings can improve the look and health of your teeth, schedule an appointment today.