Tooth-Colored Fillings Pasadena TX
Get natural looking tooth-colored fillings
In the past, dental cavities were filled with a mixture of metal alloys, also known as amalgam. Today, tooth-colored or composite fillings are a mixture of resin, glass or quartz and porcelain ceramics. These materials are resilient and long lasting. These fillings are colored to match the patient’s teeth and are practically invisible to the untrained eye. For aesthetic and/or medical purposes, these tooth-colored fillings can be used to replace old and worn dental amalgam, gold or other metal fillings.
While composite fillings have visual advantages, over time they can become discolored. Just like metal fillings, tooth-colored fillings can be set and cured in one visit to the dentist.
Tooth-colored fillings are priced similarly to metallic alloy. They are not as long-lasting as amalgam fillings, and may chip in certain locations of the mouth. The dentist will discuss filling material options and recommend options based on the patient’s medical and aesthetic needs.
How do tooth-colored fillings work?
Tooth-colored fillings are different from silver amalgam fillings in the way they fully integrate with the tooth. Unlike silver amalgam, the composite resin actually bonds to the tooth surface. Silver amalgam is simply packed down into the drilled-out area of the tooth. As Dr. Covell layers the resin, it actually pulls inward on the tooth’s periphery, making the tooth gain in strength. Amalgam fillings can weaken the tooth.
What is the procedure for having a tooth-colored filling placed?
Once Dr. Covell removes the decay from a tooth, he thoroughly cleans and disinfects the area. He then places the composite resin layer by layer. Every layer is hardened with the use of a curing light, and then the next layer is applied. He sculpts the resin to conform to the natural shape of the tooth. When satisfied with the appearance, the final layer is hardened, and the tooth is polished. Now your tooth is free of decay, healthy, and has an invisible restoration.
Are there any risks associated with tooth-colored fillings?
Composite resin fillings actually decrease any risks involved with a filling when compared with silver amalgam. Silver amalgam can expand and contract with temperatures of different foods and can actually crack a tooth. Composite resin cannot do that because it bonds to the tooth surface and isn’t susceptible to temperature changes. Also, the mercury that is a large part of silver amalgam fillings can leach out of the tooth. Any risks involved with having a filling placed are miniscule compared to not having decay removed and a filling placed. Decay left untreated will enlarge, endangering the life of the tooth and requiring at least a root canal and possibly extraction.
How long will my tooth-colored filling last?
Earlier forms of composite resin weren’t as durable as today’s resins. Because of this, early resins were only used for small fillings on non-molars. But technological advancements keep increasing the strength and durability composite resin, making it a perfect option for all fillings. Today, tooth-colored fillings are more popular than amalgam. Although there is some conflicting research based on older resins, both tooth-colored fillings and amalgam are showing an average lifespan of around 12 years. But just as you probably experienced with some of your silver amalgam fillings, they can last for far longer than 12 years.
Can I whiten a tooth-colored filling?
Not, you cannot whiten composite resin.
How long does it take to place a composite-resin filling?
How long it takes Dr. Covell to place your tooth-colored filling depends upon a few variables. First, where is the filling and how large is it? This process takes anywhere from just 20-30 minutes up to maybe an hour.
Are there any restrictions on what I can eat with a tooth-colored filling?
No, you can eat whatever you want with a composite filling.
Why should I replace my silver fillings?
Silver amalgam has been used to fill cavities caused by tooth decay since the 1800s. Hundreds of millions of teeth over that time have had silver amalgam fillings.
Dental amalgam is a mixture of metals consisting of liquid mercury and a powdered alloy comprised of silver, tin, and copper. That doesn’t sound like something you’d like to have in your teeth, but there’s one reason for the popularity of amalgam — strength. Amalgam fillings are very durable and can last for decades.
But amalgam fillings have problems:
- They are unsightly. When you open your mouth, everyone can see exactly how many amalgam fillings you have.
- They require more of the healthy tooth to be removed. Silver amalgam isn’t bonded onto the tooth; it is packed in. To adequately anchor the filling more of the healthy tooth (in addition to the decayed portion) needs to be removed and a ridged surface is created to hold the amalgam.
- No one wants mercury in his or her mouth. While they’ve been deemed safe, people are less and less interested in having a combination of metals, particularly mercury, in their mouth.
- Amalgam fillings can crack teeth. Because the metals expand and contract with hot and cold, amalgam fillings can cause the tooth to crack.
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Schedule a Consultation with Dr. Covell!
Interested in learning more about tooth-colored fillings and whether they are right for you? You can book a one-on-one consultation with Dr. Paul Covell by calling (713) 943-9832 or by going to our contact page and filling out an appointment request form. Our practice serves Pasadena and the surrounding areas of Texas.