- What are Tooth-Colored Fillings?
- Tooth-Colored Fillings Benefits
- Tooth-Colored Fillings vs. Amalgam Fillings
- Tooth-Colored Fillings Candidates
- Tooth-Colored Fillings Procedure
- Tooth-Colored Fillings Cost
What are Tooth-Colored Composite Fillings?
Dental fillings are considered one of the most common examples of restorative dentistry, and advances in dental technology have allowed traditional metal fillings to be replaced by their more natural-looking counterpart, tooth-colored fillings. Tooth-colored fillings—also called composite fillings—are designed to fill cavities as inconspicuously as possible. Made of a durable composite resin, tooth-colored fillings are sometimes called “white fillings” due to their ability to match the natural tooth in color and shape.
What are the Benefits of Tooth-Colored Composite Fillings?
Tooth-colored composite fillings offer a variety of benefits:
- They are created to match the tooth’s shade
- They are more strongly bonded to the tooth, lowering the risk of the filling becoming loose and collecting bacteria, which can help prevent further decay
- Composite resin is metal-free, meaning that it does not expand and contract as much in response to temperature changes. This can reduce the risk of tooth cracks and fractures
- Composites allow for the preservation of more of the natural tooth than a metal filling, as they are typically smaller and require less of the tooth structure to be removed
We encourage you to explore our gallery to view some of our dentists’ beautiful composite filling results.
Tooth-Colored Composite Fillings vs. Metal Amalgam Fillings
While some practices still offer metal amalgam fillings, tooth-colored composite fillings have become a more popular choice among both dentists and patients. For one, tooth-colored fillings typically provide a much more aesthetically-pleasing outcome than metal fillings do, as they are meant to blend seamlessly with the natural smile. They also generally require less tooth removal in their preparation process than metal fillings do. In addition, composite fillings have a metal-free makeup, allowing them to bond more securely to the natural tooth structures. This helps reduce the risk of the filling coming loose while also providing better protection against bacteria and decay.
If you would like assistance choosing between composite and metal fillings, one of our experienced restorative dentists can help you make an informed decision.
Who is a Good Candidate for a Tooth-Colored Composite Filling?
Candidates for composite fillings include those with broken, chipped, or decayed teeth. In most cases, fillings are best suited for mild- to moderately-damaged teeth, and the affected tooth should be strong enough to support the filling. Alternative restorations exist for those who are not deemed candidates for fillings, including:
Essentially a replacement “cap,” a dental crown completely covers the tooth, providing enhanced structural support and improved aesthetics. Considered a permanent restoration, dental crowns are typically utilized when the damage is too extensive for a filling to be effective.
Inlays and Onlays
Similar to a filling, a dental inlay is designed to fill cavities and reinforce tooth structure (in this case, the tooth is filled with either a gold alloy or porcelain-based ceramic). Dental inlays are most often used to fill larger cavities for which a filling would be insufficient and a crown may prove excessive. Meanwhile, onlays function similarly to a crown in that they cover a cusp of the tooth in order to provide structural support. However, onlays typically require significantly fewer changes to the tooth structure than a crown, making them a more conservative treatment option.
Before moving forward with treatment, one of our prosthodontists will assess the extent of damage and determine the ideal course of action for you.
How is a Tooth-Colored Composite Filling Placed?
One of the most widely-performed restorations around the world, a dental filling procedure is generally quite straightforward, and a tooth-colored composite filling is often considered even less invasive than a traditional filling. After the gums are numbed, your dentist will remove any decayed tissue from the tooth and prepare the area for the filling. The composite will then be bonded to the tooth in a “layering” process, with your dentist adding small amounts of material at a time while curing the composite with a laser to harden it.
As with a traditional filling, the aftercare process should not take longer than a day or two. Your mouth may remain numb following treatment, and you are advised to eat only soft foods until the numbness wears off. Any soreness can usually be managed with over-the-counter pain medications.
How Much do Tooth-Colored Fillings Cost?
The precise cost of your tooth-colored filling will depend on the extent of treatment, the location of the affected tooth, and other factors. A concrete price will be determined after one of our dentists has had the chance to assess your unique needs.
To learn more about the payment process, we invite you to explore our financial options. Please note that we only work with Delta Dental Insurance and Cigna Dental Insurance, and we will gladly communicate with them to see if your procedure is eligible for coverage. We also accept a variety of payment methods and work with CareCredit®, a third-party financier that offers low- and no-interest healthcare loans for qualified applicants.
For further information about tooth-colored composite dental fillings, please contact our team at Schweitzer & Schweitzer, PC today.