Whether or not they are toxic is still a subject of unresolved debate, but for many dental patients silver colored amalgam fillings are a thing of the past. Today’s metal-free fillings are made of composite materials such as resins and porcelains that look just like natural teeth, not only in how they look but also in how they function.
So much more is known today about the make-up of the various parts of the tooth (enamel and dentin) that materials have been developed to imitate their natural properties of interaction and bonding. The old metallic or amalgam fillings were pressed into the tooth cavity and relied on friction stay in place. Amalgam fillings provide good protection for the tooth, but that protection is limited since amalgam fillings do not actually bond with the tooth. Modern dental composite resins comprised of plastic and silica are used in non-amalgam fillings and they look and perform much like the natural dentin. Likewise, dental porcelains replace the enamel function of the tooth.
These discoveries have helped to create more efficient ways of bonding tooth colored fillings to the teeth that are actually stronger and more protective. First, a resin is used to seal the dentin surface from bacteria and sensitivity. To this protective coating, another composite resin for shaping and rebuilding the tooth surface can be safely bonded. There are three methods for the application of these materials, depending on the specific situation, such as how much of a tooth requires restoration. Your dentist will be able to help you make the best choices for your individual needs.
Fillings are really about restoring teeth, literally rebuilding them, in recreating a tooth that not only looks good but responds more naturally and comfortably when in action, just like a healthy tooth.
Posted on the behalf of Sarah Roberts
Dental crowns and tooth colored fillings are very commonly used on the front teeth when treating decay or tooth trauma. The shade of porcelain, resin and composite materials allow your dentist to create a restoration that blends in naturally with the rest of your smile, minimizing the appearance that you have had dental treatment completed. We typically think of these treatments in terms of size, shape and price, but perhaps one of the most important aesthetic aspects of all is that of shade selection.
Teeth come in various shades and variations of color, with certain undertones and hues that make each and every smile unique. Thankfully, so do restorative materials. Selecting the most accurate filling or crown color allows the restored tooth to blend in with the rest of your teeth, instead of standing out. We may instinctively want a lighter colored restoration, but too much one way or another will cause the tooth to stand out from your other teeth and not appear natural.
Your dentist will most likely utilize natural lighting when selecting the shade of a large restoration such as a crown. There may be a large window in the treatment room, or your dentist may even take you outside with a mirror so that you can make the choice together. Unlike artificial lighting, natural lighting provides a better resource when selecting from dozens of shade variations.
Tooth colored fillings and crowns will not change shade over time, and cannot be lightened with tooth whitening products. If you plan on whitening your teeth at any point it in the future, it is recommended that this be done prior to having the tooth repaired. Doing so allows the new restoration to match the lighter shade of your teeth, instead of restricting you to a darker shade.
Posted on behalf of Dan Myers
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