Tooth fillings, which are placed on damaged teeth in need of restoration, can be crafted from a variety of materials. Traditionally, tooth fillings were made from metal materials and looked obvious against the tooth enamel. Nowadays, dentists like Dr. Matthew Warner of Willoughby Dental uses modern, tooth-colored materials to fill teeth with cavities. These materials look natural and are safe and long lasting.
Do I Need a Tooth-Colored Filling?
Most dental patients develop a cavity at some point. Cavities are detected during dental check-ups, as the doctor examines the surface of the teeth with a small mirror. He may use special instruments or take X-rays to confirm the cavity. Cavities are commonly treated by placing fillings, which close off the space where bacteria can enter and prevent additional decay.
The decayed area of the tooth must be removed and the leftover empty space filled with a dental material. Traditionally, dentists used metal or amalgam (a mixture of metals) materials, which have a conspicuous gold or silver color. However, modern dental technology has led to the development of tooth-colored filling material.
If you have a cavity and want it filled with a more natural-looking material, you may be a good candidate for a tooth-colored filling. These types of fillings can be used in either the front or the back of the mouth, and blend in with the surrounding teeth. Tooth-colored fillings are strong and durable, but may not be ideal for large fillings. In the case of a large cavity, another filling material or restoration (e.g., Dental crown) may be recommended.
Tooth-colored fillings are usually placed in a single dental visit.
Before the filling can be placed, Dr. Warner must remove the decayed area of tooth structure. Local anesthesia will likely be used to numb the tooth, so this portion of the procedure should not be painful. He will clean out the tooth and prepare it to receive the filling. This usually involves shaping the empty space to ready it for the filing.
Dr. Warner will then apply the tooth-colored resin (plastic) material to the tooth and fill in the empty area. He will sculpt the material so it takes on a natural appearance, and harden it into place with a special light. Dr. Warner will check the filling in your bite and make any last-minute adjustments as needed. To finish, he may polish the filling so it blends in with the translucent natural enamel. At this point, the tooth will be restored to its original shape and function.
With the proper care and attention, your tooth-colored filling can last for many years. You must brush and floss your teeth (including the filling) twice a day, and return to see Dr. Warner every six months so he can check your teeth. For the best looking results, you should avoid teeth-staining and sweet, sugary foods that may compromise your filling.