Can you get through life without cavities? Don’t bet Vegas on it. Apparently 91% of adults in the U.S. between the ages of 20-64 have had a cavity. So, the bad news is that you, much like everyone else around you, will probably get a cavity, if you haven’t already. And what’s the good news? Thanks to improvements in dental technology, you now have a better option when it comes to your fillings: Tooth Colored Composite Fillings.
The purpose of a filling is to restore any area of a tooth damaged by decay, cracks or fractures and bring back its shape and function. A filling also closes off any spaces where bacteria can enter, which helps to prevent any further tooth decay.
Tooth Colored Composite Fillings
At North Seattle Dental we don’t use metal amalgam (silver) fillings due to health risks associated with the mercury and also because tooth colored composite fillings look and function better.
A composite filling, also referred to as a white filling, is a tooth colored filling made of a durable plastic and glass mixture that is created to match the color of your existing teeth, making it much less visible – no more silver in your mouth!
These white fillings are designed to bond directly to the tooth, unlike amalgam fillings that were packed into cavity, like a pothole repair.
Unlike amalgam fillings, which respond to temperature changes in your mouth by expanding or shrinking, composite fillings, will not fluctuate in size when you eat hot or cold foods. The filling actually leads to a stronger, more durable tooth that’s less susceptible to fractures and cracks.
The composite materials of the filling are also formulated to give and bend with your teeth, which helps to distribute force evenly when you chew, so that it functions just like a natural tooth.
White composite fillings not only fill in cavities to prevent any future decay, they actually work to strengthen your tooth.
As with most dental restorations, fillings are not permanent and may some day have to be replaced. They are, however, very durable and will last many years.
Advantages of Tooth Colored Fillings
- They can closely match your tooth color and appearance.
- They require very little removal of the healthy tooth structure around the decay.
- The bonding of white fillings to the enamel of your tooth restores up to 95% of the original tooth’s structure.
- They fully harden in seconds, compared to some materials that require longer wait times or more visits.
- If they are damaged they can be repaired
- They are durable.
- They can be placed in a single visit.
- There is no reaction to temperature changes. Because the composite materials used in white fillings do not expand or contract with hot or cold temperatures (like silver fillings), they help protect the integrity of your tooth, protecting it from cracks and fractures.
- They are mercury free – Metal amalgam fillings are made of about 50% mercury, which may potentially be a health risk for some patients. White fillings are completely mercury free.
Getting Composite Fillings – The Procedure
Composite fillings are usually placed in one appointment. While the tooth is numb, our dentists will remove any decay. The space will then be thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared before the new filling is placed, shaped and polished, restoring your tooth to its original shape and function.
Ultimately, the best dental filling is no filling, but even with great dental hygiene (brushing, flossing, regular dental visits and a good diet), cavities may still occur. And if they should appear, you can rely on our composite fillings to not only look and feel great, but to help your tooth function like it should.