If a natural-looking smile is important to you, your dentist can now repair and restore your teeth with tooth-colored fillings, inlays, onlays, crowns and veneers that when placed look just like your teeth.
You may remember the days when fillings were made with a metal alloy, leaving visible, dark colored spots on your teeth. These have been used for hundreds of years to treat tooth decay and fill in cavities. However, a more modern approach gives you a filling that mirrors your own teeth and feels more natural from day to day.
Also known as dental fillings, tooth colored restorations are a way to help stop tooth decay from causing sufficient damage to warrant a tooth having to be pulled. It’s important that fillings are placed soon after detection of the decay to stop any further damage to the tooth and surrounding gums.
Made of a complex composite, tooth-colored restorations bond to your tooth, helping prevent any filling leaks or chances of any cracking or breaking of the tooth. Many patients feel more comfortable and confident with these tooth-colored restorations because they look and feel like your actual teeth. When you smile or open your mouth wide, you can barely notice the filling, if you can see it at all.
Tooth-colored restorations also function like your natural teeth and are ninety to ninety-five percent as strong as a healthy tooth whereas silver fillings are not quite as strong. As you chew, talk, or feel the filling with your teeth, you will likely not notice a difference between the tooth with the filling and the surrounding teeth.
When your decayed tooth needs more than a filling but less than a crown to repair it, your dentist will use either an inlay or an onlay to bring your tooth back to a healthy state. In this case, there will be more of the composite material exposed on the surface of the tooth, making a natural-looking compound even more important.
Read more about tooth-colored fillings on the ADA’s website: MouthHealthy.org.