For a lot of years, people who needed tooth fillings had pretty much one choice: dental amalgam. Or, if you prefer, silver fillings, which were far from being a very aesthetically pleasing option.
But those are already a thing of the past, as dentists offer now the possibility to have fillings that match the natural color of your teeth, so nobody can actually tell that you have some work done. And it appears that people are delighted with this idea as well!
Also known as composite resins, these fillings provide increased durability, as well as a very high resistance to fracture, as moderate pressure is constantly applied on them while chewing. Because they can make a ‘fixed’ tooth look more natural, they are an excellent choice for both back and front teeth.
Ok, but is it the same material, with the same properties?
Technically speaking, no. Tooth-colored fillings are made using a composition of plastic resins and silica fillers, able to replicate a lot of the qualities possessed by the natural tooth structure, like wear-resistance and translucency.
Compared to “silver”, these fillings are quite different, but they are 100% safe, so you shouldn’t be skeptical if your dentists offers to use something else than what you were expecting.
Say ‘goodbye’ to post-filling sensitivity
Besides the aesthetical advantage, one of the biggest pluses of tooth-colored fillings is the fact that the procedure itself is less complicated, reducing the risk of post-filling sensitivity.
To be more specific, no matter what material is chosen, the filling procedure is similar: the tooth is prepared for it, as the dentist removes all the decay – after anesthesia was applied, of course – and places the material into the tooth.
But this is where the big difference is.
When amalgam filling is used, the doctor shapes the affected tooth by making so-called undercuts, in order to help the material adhere to the tooth. Basically, a bit of healthy tooth material is also removed, which, in time, can lead to a structurally-weakened and very sensitive tooth.
In contrast, when resin-based tooth-colored fillings are used, there’s no need for those undercuts, as the material forms a mechanical bond with the tooth. Obviously, this is a more conservative type of treatment, which leads to a long-lasting intervention and no sensitivity issues. Oh, and in most cases, this entire procedure can be accomplished in just one visit, which is excellent for those with a pathologic fear of dentists.
What are the disadvantages?
Despite their pluses, tooth-colored fillings are not really perfect. First of all, they can be a bit pricey, compared to amalgam fillings, not to mention that, occasionally, they are not covered by specific insurance plans, which is a very important aspect.
Besides this, it was proven that they can sometimes be less durable than traditional fillings, which forces the patient to have them replaced more often. However, in the end, it’s up to you to decide what type of filling suits you. Or, of course, carefully follow a dental hygiene routine, so you don’t need them at all!