Tooth-colored fillings (also known as white fillings) provide a strong and aesthetically pleasing solution for filling cavities in teeth. Made of composite resins, these durable restorations are designed to resist fractures while you chew even the most difficult or sticky foods. Whether on the front teeth or back molars, tooth-colored fillings effectively restore and protect your smile.
Why the kind of fillings matter
Dental fillings go beyond just restoring a tooth’s function in today’s dentistry world. Aesthetics play a crucial role, with materials such as composite and ceramic fillings enabling the restoration of teeth in an almost invisible manner.
Marigold Dental in Federal Way exclusively uses tooth-colored composite fillings that are customized to match the shade of your teeth, providing you with a healthy and beautiful smile.
Dental fillings are a standard dental restoration procedure aimed at restoring the function, integrity, and morphology of missing tooth structures. This tooth loss could be attributed to caries, external trauma, or internal structural changes. However, recent advances in dentistry allow fillings to serve both a functional and an aesthetic role. Modern dental fillings can be customized to match the shade of your teeth flawlessly, ensuring an almost invisible restoration.
Understanding Dental Fillings and Their Types
Dental fillings were designed to halt further tooth decay and improve oral health. The material options for these fillings have varied over the years, but the most popular choices were amalgam and composite resins. Dentistry has evolved significantly over time, expanding the selection of materials and focusing more on aesthetics.
The fascinating history of dental fillings parallels the history of modern dentistry, and the journey of this dental practice can be traced back thousands of years. The oldest known dental filling, made of beeswax, dates back to around 6500 years ago and was found in a cave near Trieste, Italy.
But the concept of dental fillings goes back even further. Scientists discovered molars dating back 7,500 to 9,500 years in Pakistan that appeared to have been treated with rudimentary dental fillings. This historical evidence indicates that the need for dental fillings has persisted for thousands of years, long before the advent of the profession we now recognize as dentistry.
The evolution of fillings over time has been notable:
- The Tang Dynasty in China documented the use of dental amalgams as early as 659 AD. The primary use of this amalgam, a mixture of liquid mercury and metal alloy, was to fill cavities brought on by tooth decay.
- In the 1800s, amalgam became the dental restorative material of choice globally due to its low cost, ease of application, strength, and durability.
- As dentistry evolved to include more sophisticated diagnostic and treatment methods, so did dental filling options.
- Today, dental professionals offer a range of dental filling materials, like gold, silver, and composite resins, catering to each patient’s unique needs.
Why We Use Composite Fillings
Composite fillings, made from a blend of plastic (acrylic) resin and powdered glass filler, have gained popularity due to their durability and natural appearance. This tooth-colored material can be perfectly matched to the shade of your existing teeth, rendering the fillings almost unnoticeable.
Composite resins serve a variety of dental restorations, such as veneers, crowns, inlays, and fillings. Additionally, dentists can employ this material to repair broken or chipped teeth, making composite resins a versatile option for dental treatments.
Amalgam fillings have been a commonly used material for dental restorations over the years. This material comprises a silver, tin, zinc, and copper blend, making it extremely durable. Amalgam fillings can last up to 15 years or more, making them an appealing choice for many patients.
However, they come with drawbacks. The metallic color of amalgam fillings is a significant aesthetic concern, primarily when used on front teeth. Also, changes in temperature can lead to expansion and contraction of the filling, potentially leading to tooth cracks over time.
What to Expect: The Process of Filling a Tooth
We use a systematic approach to ensure the effectiveness of a filling:
- First, a local anesthetic is applied using the Onset by Onpharma local anesthetic buffering system [link to tech] to ensure patient comfort while the tooth to be treated becomes numb.
- Then Dr. Brar removes the decayed area.
- Once all decay is removed, the cavity is cleaned thoroughly to eliminate bacteria and debris. If the decay is close to the root, the dentist may use a glass ionomer or composite resin liner to protect the nerve.
- After preparing the cavity, the chosen filling material is applied. In the case of tooth-colored fillings, the composite material is applied in layers. Each layer is hardened using a special light.
- Once all layers are applied and cured, the composite is shaped to match the tooth’s shape and polished for a natural appearance.
If you need fillings or if you are unsure because it’s been a while since you’ve seen a dentist, schedule an appointment with Marigold Dental in Federal Way, WA, and we’ll work with you to determine the appropriate type of denture system. Our friendly team is ready to provide you with exceptional care and guide you on your journey to a healthy, confident smile.