Although we do our best to keep our smiles clean and healthy, most of us will experience tooth decay at some point. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research reports that up to 92% of adults between the ages of 20 and 64 have cavities in their permanent teeth. Thankfully, shiny metal fillings aren’t the only way to repair your smile anymore. Your Indianapolis dentist explains how modern tooth-colored fillings work and their advantages.
What are Fillings Made of?
Since 1895, a combination of metals called amalgam has been used to fill cavities. While this material is incredibly strong, its metallic nature can make teeth weaker and more sensitive to temperatures. Additionally, amalgam expands and shrinks at a different rate than tooth enamel, so it may cause damage. Unless it’s for a large cavity or high-pressure area of the mouth, dentists typically no longer recommend amalgam fillings.
Composite resin fillings are a modern way to treat tooth decay with minimal damage. Instead of metals, these fillings are made with a silicon-dioxide plastic mixture. This material is flexible yet strong and has a comparable lifespan of about seven to ten years like an amalgam filling. While they may crack under high-stress conditions, composite resin fillings are the ideal choice for repairing a tooth that’s easily seen when you smile, laugh, or talk.
Advantages of Tooth-Colored Fillings
The number one advantage of composite resin fillings is their ability to blend in seamlessly with the rest of your smile. However, you can also enjoy other benefits of tooth-colored fillings, like:
- Less drilling: Since composite resin is more flexible than amalgam, it can fit into smaller spaces. This means less drilling is typically required and more of your natural tooth can be preserved.
- Improved tooth support: Tooth-colored fillings chemically bond to the natural structure of your teeth, which gives them more support and strengthens them.
- Less temperature sensitivity: Composite resin doesn’t change shape when exposed to hot or cold like amalgam can and causes fewer instances of tooth sensitivity.
Whether you need a cavity filled or are looking to replace your gleaming metal fillings, tooth-colored fillings are a great way to keep your smile looking and feeling its best.
About the Authors
Dr. Mark Farthing and Dr. Armin Tepner of Indianapolis Family Dentistry love to help their patients achieve smiles that are both beautiful and healthy. If you’re experiencing tooth decay, they are proud to provide quality, tooth-colored composite resin fillings that can fix up your pearly whites in no time. However, they’d much rather help you prevent cavities from forming in the first place with regular dental checkups! If you’d like to learn more about tooth-colored fillings or are interested in replacing your metal fillings, feel free to contact them via their website or at (317) 898-3384.