People today are concerned with the way their teeth look and they demand they look as natural as possible. They often ask that we lighten their teeth when we fill them so they are whiter. At Restorative Dentistry Associates Dr. Brian Shaffer is dedicated to giving you as beautiful a smile as possible with today’s technology. That’s why we use “tooth-colored” fillings at our San Antonio practice. These composite resins can be used for the majority of fillings, which we place to repair teeth that have become broken or decayed. Yes, we still have dental silver amalgam, the old silver fillings and from time to time patients still ask for them. These patients generally don’t want to pay for the very small increase in cost for the tooth-colored fillings. But patients generally ask for “the tooth-colored” fillings and Dr. Shaffer is happy to restore their teeth with these materials. To learn more about these unique fillings, contact the friendly staff at our San Antonio practice.
What are Tooth-colored Fillings?
Many patients have questions about composite resin fillings. So what are these tooth-colored fillings? Are they as good as the old silver fillings? Are they safe? Tooth-colored fillings are engineered plastics filled with glass particles so that they look and feel like the natural tooth structure. Advantages of this type of filling over the old amalgam, silver fillings are that they:
- Bond to the tooth to make the tooth stronger
- Are “white” or tooth-colored
- Contain no mercury
Yes, these types of filling materials are bonded to the tooth. Unlike the silver fillings that are held to the tooth by simple undercuts and do not contribute to the strength of the tooth, the tooth-colored or white fillings actually give back to the strength of the decayed tooth. They also do a better job of preventing fracturing and breaking of the tooth than amalgam fillings do. At our San Antonio office, we remove the decay and use a mild, but very safe acid (just about the same acidity as the coke you might drink), to etch the edge of the cavity-much like you etch glass to “frost it.” This provides a retentive surface that we can bond something to. Then we condition the inside of the tooth with a special, again safe, material that allows us to bond the filling material to the inside of the tooth. Research shows us that we can achieve over 75% of the strength of an original tooth that has never been decayed. While not perfect, it’s much better than an old, silver filling that gives no strength to the decayed tooth.
The Safety of Tooth-colored Fillings
Many people today are concerned with allergies and other health hazards of materials we use in dentistry and medicine. After carefully reviewing several clinical studies and reports, Dr. Shaffer has found no concrete evidence to be concerned with placing this type of material. That’s why Dr. Shaffer has this type of filling material in his mouth and has used this material in the mouths of his family and employees to restore their teeth.
Dr. Shaffer has also been asked if these fillings last as long as silver fillings and his answer is that, according to his research and others in clinical studies, tooth-colored fillings will last as well as silver fillings. Many can last for more than 10 years.
The Benefits of Tooth-colored Fillings
Sometimes people are looking for a cheaper method than porcelain veneers or Lumineersä to change the color of their teeth, make their smiles whiter, and avoid the sensitivity of repeatedly bleaching their teeth. At his San Antonio practice, Dr. Shaffer can discuss with you how we can use tooth-colored fillings to change the shape and color of you smile.
Also some people have badly broken down teeth that need full coverage to restore their teeth. However, some cannot afford crowns, so Dr. Shaffer can often place composite resin fillings in these badly broken down teeth to restore form and function for the patient. Although these fillings do not generally last as long as a crown, they are effective at repairing the teeth. Patients can then save their teeth and buy time to be able to pay for more definitive treatment in the future.