What Are Tooth-Colored Fillings and How Do They Differ from Traditional Silver or Amalgam Fillings?

Jun 01, 2023

What Are Dental Fillings?

They are materials that dentists use to repair damaged or decayed teeth. Dentists in Calgary primarily use dental fillings to restore decayed teeth by filling the cavities. Cavities occur when bacteria in the mouth produce acid that erodes teeth enamel and dentin layers, creating a hole. If left untreated, they grow larger, eventually causing pain, spreading the infection, and causing tooth loss. Dental fillings usually feature various materials, the most common one being amalgams. The filling your dentist employs depends on the location of restoration, the size of the cavity, and your aesthetic preferences and budget.

Other Types of Dental Fillings

You do not always need metal-based fillings like gold or amalgams. Even though silver fillings have been popular for many years, a dentist near you can employ different tooth-colored fillings. They are also known as composite fillings. Tooth-colored fillings usually feature a mixture of plastic and glass materials that can match the shade of the surrounding teeth. These fillings restore small to medium-sized cavities in the front teeth that are visible when you smile.

What Happens During a Dental Filling Procedure?

Your dentist will first numb your mouth with local anesthesia so you do not feel pain during treatment. Afterward, (s)he will remove the decayed or damaged portion of your tooth with a drill or laser. The dentist then prepares the remaining tooth structure to fill the cavity with your filling material. The dentist will shape the filling material accordingly before polishing it to match the tooth’s natural contour. When you have a tooth-colored filling, it will also improve your tooth’s appearance.

How Can Patients Prepare for A Tooth-Colored Filling Procedure?

If you opt for tooth-colored fillings in SE Calgary, you should know a few things about preparing well for your treatment. Some tips patients use when preparing for a tooth-colored filling procedure are:
  • Talk to the dentist about any concerns or questions before your procedure. The more questions you have, the better a dentist near you can explain the details of the procedure along with the expected outcome.
  • Follow pre-procedure instructions that your dentist may give you. The instructions may include avoiding certain foods or medications, usually about 24 hours before the appointment.
  • Arrive at your appointment on time so you have time to complete any necessary paperwork and prepare for the procedure.
  • Wear comfortable clothing – dentists recommend comfortable, loose-fitting clothing that allows you to move easily during the procedure.
  • Bring headphones for music or any other distraction. Some patients find it calming to listen to music or an audiobook during the procedure to help them relax. It is particularly helpful if you have dental anxiety.
  • Prepare for sedation – if you are particularly anxious or nervous about dental procedures, talk to your dentist beforehand about sedation options.
  • Arrange transportation after treatment – bring a friend or family member to come with you to the dental office at Willow Park Dental to drive you home after the procedure.

How Are Tooth-Colored Fillings Different from Amalgams?

One of the main differences between tooth-colored fillings and amalgam fillings is their appearance. Tooth-colored fillings are virtually invisible, while amalgam fillings are quite conspicuous even when used for the back teeth. Additionally, tooth-colored fillings are less likely to cause tooth sensitivity since they do not expand or contract with temperature changes as much as amalgam fillings. Another difference is the preparation necessary before the filling procedure. Tooth-colored fillings require less removal of the healthy tooth structure than amalgam fillings. The reason is that they bond to the tooth surface without as much mechanical retention as amalgams.

How Often Should Patients Have Their Tooth-Colored Fillings Checked by A Dental Professional?

After Getting composite fillings, you should be intentional about caring for them. Part of proper dental care is visiting a dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups. Dentists recommend having tooth-colored fillings checked at least once a year. During the dental checkup, your dentist will examine the composite fillings and assess their condition. The goal will be to check for signs of wear, cracking, or chipping, indicating that the filling material needs replacement or at least repair. The dentist will also check the surrounding teeth and gums to ensure no issues could affect the filling, including an underlying infection.