Dental fillings are a common and effective treatment for cavities and tooth decay. During a filling procedure, your dentist will remove the decayed portion of the tooth and fill the cavity with a material such as composite resin or amalgam.
The tooth-colored filling, or a “composite”, helps to restore the shape and function of the tooth, while also preventing further decay or damage. Fillings are typically a quick and straightforward procedure that can be completed in a single appointment.
With proper care and maintenance, dental fillings can last for many years and help to maintain the health and integrity of your teeth.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Dental Fillings
A tooth-colored filling is a mixture of a tooth-colored resin with clear glass particles that give it strength.
Tooth colored fillings come in many shades so they very closely match the color of natural teeth. They are bonded into place and require less removal of healthy tooth structure than silver fillings.
As with any filling, having a tooth colored filling involves some inherent risks both to the remaining tooth structure and to the tooth
colored filling itself:
- Tooth-colored fillings are limited because they seal a tooth but do not prevent it from breaking.
- Tooth-colored fillings may fracture; the larger the tooth-colored fillings, the greater the risk of fracture.
- Tooth-colored fillings may decay around the edge of the filling if your dentist is unable to keep the tooth clean and dry while placing the Tooth-colored filling.
- Preparing for and placing a tooth-colored filling can irritate the tooth and cause “post-operative” sensitivity which may last for up to 3 months.
- Teeth that have had tooth-colored fillings may need a root canal treatment less than 1% of the time during the lifetime of the tooth.
The alternatives to having a tooth-colored filling are:
- Having a silver filling or “amalgam” placed.
- Having a gold or porcelain inlay/onlay restoration placed.
Bite problems may lead to the tooth colored filling or tooth breaking or loosening.
- A Tooth colored filling may have a good color match with your natural tooth when it is placed but less of a match as your natural tooth ages.
- Tooth colored fillings can collect stain over time from foods such as black tea, coffee and wine.
- Tooth colored fillings may chip or break if used for abnormal activities (e.g. biting fishing line, sewing thread or finger nails, opening bottles).