Tooth colored fillings
Tooth colored fillings, also called white fillings, are dental fillings that restore and mimic the natural appearance of tooth structure. In addition to restoring teeth that have fractured or decayed, tooth colored fillings may also be used cosmetically to change the size, color and shape of teeth. This quality is particularly useful in closing gaps between teeth; repairing chipped teeth and making teeth appear to be more straight or even.
What are the advantages of tooth colored fillings (white fillings)?
- They closely match natural tooth color and appearance.
- They bond to tooth structure chemically and thus do not require the placement of slots, grooves or pins in healthy tooth structure to mechanically retain them.
- The bonding of white fillings to the tooth restore 85% – 95% of the original strength of the tooth.
- They completely harden in seconds instead of days required by some other materials.
- Tooth sensitivity, if any, due to composite resin use is minimal and brief.
They may be used on front and back teeth without compromising esthetics.
- If damaged they can be repaired.
What are the disadvantages of tooth colored fillings
- Frequent and/or prolonged exposure to dark liquids (coffee, tea, red wine) and foods with rich dyes (curries, etc.) may stain them.
- They are not as strong as metal fillings.
- Frequent and/or prolonged exposure to liquids with a high alcohol content may degrade them.
- They are more expensive than dental amalgam fillings.
- Dental insurance companies frequently impose a surcharge, payable by the patient, for placement of white fillings instead of dental amalgam, especially for back teeth.
The best choice for tooth fillings?
When it comes to selecting the best material for you and your particular teeth, consultation with your dentist is key. Strength, esthetics, cost and longevity of dental filling materials may vary greatly in different situations and for different patients. Some of the considerations your dentist takes into account when recommending a particular filling material for your teeth are the current condition of the teeth, the size of the area to be restored, the location of the teeth involved and the forces (chewing, shearing, grinding, etc.) being placed on the teeth during chewing and other normal movements of your jaw.