Tooth-Colored Fillings

Are You Interested in Tooth-Colored Fillings in Springfield, Mo?

In the past, dentists used amalgam, silver, gold, and other metals to repair damaged teeth. These fillings were not only visible, but the rigidity of the components also required your dentist to shave off a more substantial portion of your tooth structure. In addition, many patients worry about the safety of amalgam fillings as they contain mercury. Although the FDA considers amalgam fillings safe, many patients prefer not to use them.

Cosmetic dentistry has taken a significant role in dental visits and procedures—proving that beauty and harmony take a role alongside health and wellness. Your tooth-colored fillings will be virtually impossible and retain the beauty of your smile.

Springfield, MO dentists Dr. Shannon White and Dr. Preston White look forward to keeping your smile healthy and attractive! At White Smiles Family Dental, we incorporate tooth-colored restorative materials to restore and protect chipped, cracked, or damaged teeth.

If you are looking at restorative services or need a filling replaced, please give our experienced dental team a call.

What Is Tooth-Colored Filling?

Tooth-colored composites are strong, reliable, durable, and inconspicuous. They are a good option for small- to mid-sized cavities. White fillings recreate the translucence of your enamel, so they are a popular choice for many patients. At White Smiles Family Dental, we only use tooth-colored filling material to restore teeth. Also called composite or white fillings, these resin-based restorations are durable and a much more attractive alternative to the old mercury-based fillings. They can also be used to replace your old amalgam fillings if you still have them.

We use tooth-colored composite material for both cosmetic bonding and fillings. Most people will need to have a filling at some point in their life because of tooth decay. For many years, the most common type of filling was the silver amalgam filling, easily recognizable by its telltale gray color. These fillings were adequate in preventing tooth decay from spreading, but they were not very attractive.

But now, a more attractive filling is available that matches the natural color and appearance of the tooth. These tooth-colored fillings blend in seamlessly with your natural tooth color. Tooth-colored fillings have other uses as well. They can be used to:

  • Repair chipped teeth
  • Close up gaps between teeth
  • Make teeth appear straighter or more even
  • Fill in cracks Lengthen short teeth
  • Enhance misshapen teeth
  • Cover badly stained teeth

We use this material for both cosmetic bonding and fillings, which means that not only are they useful for protecting your teeth against further decay and infection—they are also used to make your smile balanced and attractive. 

What Is a Cavity?

A cavity is decay that can be found on one or more teeth.

To repair a cavity, our Springfield dentists will anesthetize the infected area and remove all the decay before filling it with a white filling. The process is usually completed in just one dental visit, and every dental check-up will ensure that the filling is still intact and has not loosened in any area. A loose filling can reintroduce bacteria to the inner tooth area, which will lead to tooth decay or infection. 

Preventing cavities is your best bet at preventing cavities, gum disease, tooth infection, or worse. Brush and floss your teeth daily and practice regular dental checkups and exams. We also recommend avoiding sugary or acidic foods and beverages, along with tobacco products.

Enamel erosion often leads to cavities, so if you find yourself clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth, let Dr. Shannon White or Dr. Preston White know immediately. We can go over a treatment plan to help retain your natural teeth, including a night guard to reduce wear and tear.

The Process of Filling a Tooth

Whatever the reason you need to have a tooth filled or restored, the procedure starts with your dentist numbing the area. Next, the tooth is prepared by removing the decay or damage, and then the filling material is placed into the tooth so it can bond with the tooth structure.

With amalgam fillings, it was necessary to remove more of the healthy tooth structure to help hold the material in place. As time went on, the tooth was more prone to cracking because it was structurally weakened.

Composite fillings don’t require the same kind of preparation to bond to the tooth. Less of the healthy tooth structure needs to be removed for this type of filling, making the treatment more conservative and the restoration longer lasting. Because the materials used for composite fillings bonds directly to the tooth structure, this strengthens the tooth and provides additional support.

How to Care for Tooth-Colored Fillings

There is no difference when it comes to caring for your tooth-colored filling or tooth bonding as opposed to an amalgam filling. Right after you get the filling, you can brush and floss just as you usually would. You can eat and drink without issue as well (although you should definitely wait until the anesthetic wears off to prevent biting your tongue or the inside of your mouth!).

Although some patients have some sensitivity in the tooth right after it is filled, this is not unusual or anything to be alarmed about. If the sensitivity doesn’t go away on its own in a few days, just give us a call. In the meantime, you can try a desensitizing toothpaste until the feeling has dissipated.

As always, visit your dentist twice a year for routine checkups and teeth cleanings. We also advise most of our patients to get dental x-rays at least once a year. Composite filling can stain over time—the potential for staining increases when coffee, wine, tea, sodas, or tobacco products are involved. 

How Long Will My White Filling Last?

While composite fillings may be more durable than amalgam or other materials, fillings of any type may one day need to be replaced. The location of your filling may have a big part in how long it will last. If the tooth bonding is along the sides of your tooth, it may not as long due to biting force. Chewing on hard or crunchy things can jeopardize both your tooth filling and your natural teeth.

If you have dental bonding or tooth-colored filling on your front teeth, you can lengthen your tooth restoration by not biting into hard foods. With proper care and maintenance, a composite filling can last four to eight years. Variables like the location on the tooth, at-home oral hygiene, and chewing habits can extend or shorten this time span.

Are You Interested in a Dental Restoration?

If you are due for a checkup or you think you might have a cavity that needs to be filled, give us a call at White Smiles Family Dental. We look forward to seeing you!

Springfield, MO dentists Dr. Shannon White and Dr. Preston White can go over all your options and provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision regarding your dental well-being.