Are Tooth-Colored Fillings Better Than Metal Ones?

Are Tooth-Colored Fillings Better Than Metal Ones?

Feb 01, 2021

When tartar build-up remains untreated, it eventually turns into tooth decay. Decay can eat away at a tooth and leave caries, also known as cavities. These cavities will widen and deepen if not treated through a dental filling procedure.

2 Basic Types of Dental Fillings and Their Advantages

Tooth-Colored Fillings

  • Aesthetic Appeal

Composite resin, porcelain, and glass ionomer are filling materials that closely resemble the color of natural teeth. They are preferred for filling cavities on any of the canines or the incisors, mainly because these teeth are very visible when one smiles or speaks.

  • Tooth Structure Conservation

Since a tooth-colored filling is generally for parts of the upper to mid-layers of a tooth, the remaining natural tooth itself can be conserved after the procedure. Furthermore, operations for a tooth-colored filling frequently only require a small portion of the affected tooth to be removed.

Metal Fillings

  • Durability and Strength

Metal fillings are comprised of silver amalgam. These are a combination of two or more of the following: mercury fused with silver, copper, zinc, or tin. They are highly durable and can withstand biting and chewing forces. Due to this, they are placed in and around premolars and back molars.

  • Longevity 

Metal fillings are resilient to wear and tear, which adds to their longevity. They can last for up to 15 years. Even though they are subjected to bite pressure within that duration, they will remain intact in structural integrity and placement.

Basic Dental Filling Procedure

1. Local Anesthetic 

A local anesthetic will be utilized to numb the surrounding areas of the affected tooth or teeth. This will allow patients to be more comfortable during the procedure. Local anesthesia takes a few minutes for its effects to be fully absorbed by the body.

2. Tooth Drilling 

This is not as daunting as it sounds. Our dentist in Andover, MA, will not start the drilling until the affected region in the oral cavity has been properly prepped and numbed.

An air abrasion instrument, a dental drill, or a laser will be used to drill into and around dental caries. This is a crucial step to removing parts of the tooth that contain decay. Drilling the decay off will permanently remove it from the tooth. As a result, it stops the decay from spreading around the rest of the tooth—or worse, to adjacent teeth.

With the use of a local anesthetic, patients should not feel any pain or discomfort during this part of the procedure.

3. Probing 

After the initial drilling, probing the affected tooth is to follow. Our Andover Cosmetic Dental Group dentist will need to verify that all decay has been taken out. Otherwise, filling the cavity will not make much difference as decay may continue to spread unless completely eliminated.

4. Cleaning 

Once your dental practitioner confirms that the decay has been removed, the area will be cleaned thoroughly. This will eliminate the remaining bacteria and debris, and it is as vital as probing for leftover decay. Bacteria and debris need to be fully extracted to prevent future decay build-up.

5. Root Protection 

When the decay has reached the topmost layer of the root (or is near it), the root will have to be protected by placing either a composite resin or glass ionomer-lining on it. Similar materials can be utilized for this protectant-lining, and it will be determined based on how close to the root the decay is.

6. Filling and Polishing

Finally, the rest of the cavity will be filled in. The tooth filling will be set in several layers to ensure its durability once hardened. This hardening is expedited via a curing light. The filling will then be buffed and polished for it to blend well with the tooth. Buffing and polishing can also help clear away rough edges which may brush against your cheeks.

For quality tooth-colored fillings in Andover, MA, contact Andover Cosmetic Dental Group. We can set you up with a consultation to determine if tooth-colored fillings are a suitable choice for you.

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