Tooth-colored fillings are strong, like traditional metal fillings, but they blend in with the color of natural tooth enamel for an inconspicuous restoration. Although there are several dental filling materials available, metal and tooth-colored composite are the most popular. More patients are choosing composite fillings because they are safer and more natural-looking than the alternatives. Dr. Patrick F. McEvoy provides only tooth-colored fillings at our office in Mountain View, CA.
A composite filling will not show dark metal spots in your teeth.
Tooth-colored vs. Metal Fillings
Although metal (amalgam) fillings were once the most widely used type of fillings, their popularity has decreased significantly in recent years. This is in part due to concerns about the potential toxicity of the mercury found in the fillings. Tooth-colored fillings do not contain mercury and are non-toxic. They reinforce the strength and structure of teeth, whereas metal fillings can ultimately weaken or crack a tooth due to the expansion and contraction of the metal. Tooth-colored fillings will allow you to keep more of your natural tooth structure, because the hole required for the filling is smaller than the size needed for metal fillings. Tooth-colored fillings can improve the health and appearance of your teeth, and result in less sensitivity than is common with metal fillings.
Although metal (amalgam) fillings were once the most widely used type of fillings, their popularity has decreased significantly in recent years.
Patients of all ages with cavities and mild to moderate tooth decay are usually good candidates for tooth-colored fillings. Patients with more extensive decay may require a root canal and/or dental crown rather than a filling. Additionally, patients may opt to replace their metal fillings with tooth-colored fillings for a more natural-looking appearance.
Tooth-colored Filling Procedure
Dr. McEvoy uses state-of-the-art equipment and technology to provide patients with excellent, minimally invasive, comfortable dental procedures. When you come in for your filling, Dr. McEvoy will use a laser to remove decay from your tooth or teeth. While a traditional dental drill vibrates, emits sound, and can cause “smoke” to arise from the mouth, a dental laser has no vibration, sound, or “smoke.” Instead, it quickly and precisely eradicates decay, effectively preparing your tooth for a dental filling.
The doctor will fill prepared cavities with custom-shaded, tooth-colored composite filling material. He can also replace existing metal fillings with tooth-colored fillings at this time. After he has removed a metal filling, Dr. McEvoy will clean the underlying area and fill the hole with the new tooth-colored composite.
To harden the composite material, he will hold a special light over each filling for a brief period. Once this process is complete, Dr. McEvoy will shape each filling to fit your bite comfortably, then polish the final restoration.
Risks and Benefits
There are few side effects or risks with tooth-colored fillings. You may experience some sensitivity to cold and hot food and drinks, and pain while chewing, for a few days following your procedure. All discomfort should subside within a week or two. Tooth-colored fillings are designed to blend in with your natural teeth and are virtually invisible, improving the appearance of your smile. They are safe for all patients, even those who are not able to have amalgam fillings.
A toothache, failing filling, or new decay requires professional treatment. Left untreated, these issues will worsen and create more dental damage. If you need a filling or are interested in replacing your metal fillings for a more natural-looking smile, contact us today to schedule your appointment with Dr. McEvoy.