The Advantages of Tooth-colored Fillings

Feb 24, 2014 @ 09:17 AM — by Lauren Shanard

Williston Composite FillingsWith regular dental exams, tooth decay can be detected and removed in its earliest stages, before it has the opportunity to truly compromise the health of a tooth. For most cavities left by decay, the easiest treatment option is to simply replace lost tissue with a filling agent. Nowadays, a variety of dental materials may be used for fillings, each with their advantages and disadvantages. And while metal fillings are still a viable option, they are becoming increasingly obsolete due to the additional advantages of tooth-colored fillings.

At our Williston dental office, we want our patients to be wholly satisfied with the aesthetics of their dental work. Consider the numerous benefits to be gained from tooth-colored fillings, as a prime example of our restorative dentistry services. 

Tooth-colored Fillings vs. Amalgam

As the most traditional filling material, metal amalgam has been used for centuries. Amalgam typically consists of mercury, silver, tin, and other metals, and it is still widely used in today’s dentistry. Nevertheless, as other materials continue to improve in style and composition, patients are left with fewer reasons to choose amalgam.   

The most obvious benefit of tooth-colored fillings is their ability to blend in with surrounding tooth structure. Whereas amalgam fillings are dark and metallic, alternative filling agents possess a color and texture far more similar to that of regular tooth tissue. Even patients with extensive dental work can have a smile that appears completely natural.

Composite Resin Fillings

Composite resin is the most common material for tooth-colored fillings. Since it is less expensive than porcelain but visually superior to amalgam, composite offers a good balance between affordability and practicality. Specifically, composite fillings offer:

  • Realistic shape: Once resin is hardened within a tooth, a cosmetic dentist can shape it to align with the tooth’s natural contours. This allows the filling to more accurately mimic the appearance of enamel.
  • Natural bond with tissue: Composite resin has the unique ability to bond with tooth tissue, as opposed to simply adhering to it. This bond reinforces the tooth from within, strengthening it.
  • Less tissue loss: For amalgam fillings, additional tissue must be drilled and resurfaced to ensure proper adhesion. Because resin adheres to teeth more easily, your tooth can retain a greater portion of healthy tissue.
  • Better fit: Amalgam fillings may expand or contract over time, letting bacteria in or cracking a tooth, respectively. Composite resin, on the other hand, will remain more consistent in form.
  • Increase in quality: The main drawback often ascribed to composite resin is its durability, as composite filings are replaced more often than other materials. However, longer lasting resins are being made each year, and this gap in quality is quickly becoming less of an issue.   

Porcelain Fillings

Porcelain can also be used to achieve inconspicuous fillings, and is generally considered the most realistic material for restorations. Furthermore, porcelain comes with a range of advantages that put it above and beyond other fillings:

  • Durability: Porcelain can be expected to last as long as metal fillings, incurring little wear or change over the years. With proper care and protection, porcelain fillings can easily last 15 years or longer.
  • Precise color matching: While both composite and porcelain fillings come in a variety of shades, porcelain can more precisely match the exact color of any tooth.
  • Customized fit: After taking impressions of your teeth, porcelain restorations are crafted to specifically fit and complement a tooth. Rather than approximating the appearance of tooth tissue, they are created to replicate it exactly. 
  • Consistent color: Composite resin and natural enamel are prone to stains, such as from food or drink. Porcelain, however, is a highly stain resistant material, able to maintain its color over many years.

While porcelain is a more expensive material than both composite and amalgam, the quality and longevity of porcelain fillings are a selling point for many patients. To see whether composite or porcelain is a better investment in your smile, consult Dr. Lauren Shanard.

Keep Your Smile Consistent

Your smile shouldn’t have to suffer from noticeable fillings. Let your dental work improve your appearance as much as it does your health. Call or email us today to schedule an appointment, and learn how our restorative techniques can help you.

Comments (0)

Public comments are closed.