Standard silver amalgam fillings can be unattractive. They are noticeable when you smile and can cause your teeth to appear discolored.
If you need a filling but don’t want it to be visible, tooth-colored composite fillings are appealing alternatives. Composites can also be used for minor reshaping of chipped teeth or to fill small gaps between teeth to give you a more even, appealing smile.
Composite fillings are usually formed using a mixture of resins, fillers, and colorants. They are applied to the tooth in layers and “cured."
Unlike silver amalgam fillings, composites can be made to match the color of your natural teeth, giving you a more seamless-looking filling than amalgam fillings.
Since the composite bonds directly to your tooth, these fillings require less removal of healthy tooth, which leaves the remaining tooth structure more intact and stronger. They are also less susceptible to cracking and chipping due to temperature changes in your mouth than amalgam fillings.
To place a composite filling, the dentist will numb the area if necessary and remove any decay. The remaining tooth is then etched to create a rough surface to bond the composite to. The dentist will match the color of your natural tooth and mix up a composite that is then applied in layers with curing between each layer. Once built up, it will be shaped to contour to your bite and look natural, then polished smooth.
For areas needing larger fillings, a semi-direct or indirect filling may be used. These consist of composite that is either built up inside the mouth and then removed for curing, or a filling that is manufactured outside of the mouth and cured. This allows for stronger curing and a more sturdy composite filling. Once the filling is cured, it is bonded to your natural tooth.
Composite fillings are usually more expensive than silver amalgam fillings, but they offer a better esthetic than the metal fillings. They can also act more like natural tooth, helping to avoid fractures due to uneven stress when biting.
Contact our office today to make an appointment or if you have any questions or concerns about tooth-colored composite fillings.