White fillings are a dental restorative material used to restore function, integrity and morphology of missing tooth structure. The missing tooth structure can occur from cavities, external trauma, and also lost intentionally via preparation of the tooth by the dentist for the dental filling. The development of tooth colored or white fillings has provided the cosmetic dentist and patients with a far more cosmetic alternative to traditional metal fillings.
Because the white fillings can be blended and mixed, a skilled cosmetic dentist is able to precisely match the tooth color of the fillings with the natural color of your teeth. Thus, they are able to place fillings that are virtually undetectable. This means only you and your dentist will know you have these fillings. These fillings are commonly called composite resins after their ingredients. These resins are metal free and are composed of a variety of materials. The most popular ingredients include acrylic resin and powdered particles similar to glass.
Tooth colored white fillings are done in one visit, in a procedure much like that for metal amalgam fillings, except that a high intensity curing light is used to bond the composite material to the tooth. Most patients will select tooth-colored composite fillings when they have a new cavity. As the availability of white fillings has increased more and more patients are having their cavities filled with cosmetic tooth colored fillings.
Metal fillings do not bond with the tooth structure. They merely rested on it and provided a degree of protection but over time the margins will open causing bacteria to leak inside. This causes a new cavity to form. Decades of research has led us to know so much more about the interface between dentin and enamel. This has led scientists to discover new ways of bonding fillings to teeth to create a stronger, more sealed connection between filling and tooth and also to be more aesthetic.
Composite resins allow us to keep more of your natural tooth structure intact than amalgams. Most dentists believe in being as conservative as possible. The more natural tooth structure we maintain, the better teeth you will likely have in the future.
Mild sensitivity is felt by some patients following the placement of composite resin fillings. This is usually temporary in nature and resolves on its own, usually in a few days. The only caution that is usually mentioned is that coffee, tea, and other staining foods and beverages may discolor your white fillings over time. These restorations have been shown to last an average of 7-10 years. It is vital to see your dentist regularly so they can be evaluated at every visit for possible breakdown of the material or further cavity formation.
Dental bonding can provide dramatic, aesthetic results in a very short period of time, usually in one appointment. With dental bonding, we can:
-Close gaps or spaces between teeth.
-Restore decayed teeth.
-Change the contours of small, misshapen teeth.
-Repair chipped or cracked teeth.
-Cosmetic tooth color fillings.
-Replace old metal amalgam fillings with a cosmetic alternative.
-To protect an exposed root surface following recession of gums.
Cosmetic dentists can shape and color a single tooth, or they can change your entire smile.