Although metallic fillings used to be the best choice for dealing with a cavity, the options have expanded and improved. Some patients who haven’t had fillings in many years are pleasantly surprised to learn about tooth-colored fillings. These fillings are made of composite resin, which is a mix of silica, plastic and glass ionomer. Dr. Jaime Breziner, Dr. David Vasquez and Dr. Yael Kandinov describe some of the benefits of choosing tooth-colored fillings.
The name for tooth-colored fillings is accurate in that they correspond with the natural color of each patient’s tooth. The dentists at La Jolla Family Smile Design carefully blend composite resin that matches the tooth color. This is a big difference from the traditional amalgam fillings that leave shiny metal in the mouth. As a result, coworkers and friends should have a much more difficult time noticing that the patient has had a filling at all.
Amalgam fillings contain trace amounts of mercury. Although research has not linked this small amount of mercury to widespread health problems, most patients prefer to not have any amount of mercury in their mouths when avoidable. Tooth-colored fillings are a great option.
Stronger Than Before
Although resin was available previously for fillings, it was not yet strong enough to be a mainstream option. Early versions of resin fillings had a short lifespan in the mouth, necessitating replacement every few years. Thankfully, the science has steadily improved, and now resin fillings last successfully in the mouth for roughly seven to 10 years before a new filling becomes necessary. Practicing proper oral hygiene habits may extend that even longer. Technically, amalgam fillings still tend to outlast tooth-colored fillings, but because the lifespans have become much closer, patients are not sacrificing too much by choosing the more aesthetically pleasing option.
Because composite resin is great at sticking to the tooth, tooth-colored fillings are not as likely to accidentally dislodge as an amalgam filling. Additionally, because resin has an easier time filling in the space generated by a cavity, the dentists can leave more of the tooth intact in preparation for a filling.
Compared to silver fillings, composite resin fillings provide the tooth with a significantly smoother surface. Considering that rough surfaces gather more plaque and are trickier to brush, tooth-colored fillings are arguably the smarter option for patients looking to avoid having additional fillings in subsequent years.
Need a Filling?
If you are overdue on having a dental examination to check for cavities, or if you already know that you have a cavity that needs a filling, schedule an appointment with the friendly team of dentists at La Jolla Family Smile Design. With tooth-colored fillings making the entire process so much easier than in decades past, there is no point in postponing this tooth-saving treatment. Call (858) 454-3044 today.