The Beauty, and Function, of Tooth-Colored Fillings

beautiful smart smileWouldn’t it be nice if you could treat your cavities or other dental health issues without leaving noticeable evidence? With tooth-colored fillings, you can. For over a century, metal amalgam has been the dental filling material of choice. While the metal fillings are strong, durable, and highly effective, the metallic flash that the fillings add to your smile can diminish its aesthetic value. Instead of amalgam, Dr. Stewart typically recommends tooth-colored dental fillings comprised of innovative, white composite resin, which holds more than just a cosmetic advantage over their metal amalgam predecessors.

What Your Tooth Filling Should Accomplish

The need for a dental filling after treating a cavity stems from the tooth’s inability to repair its own structure when damaged (like bones and other body tissues normally can). Tooth decay is a progressive disease that destroys a tooth’s structure as it advances towards the center. To stop this advancement, Dr. Stewart will remove the decayed tissue, clean out any lingering bacteria and infection, and replace the removed tooth structure with a dental filling to restore its structural integrity. Ideally, the filling should seal and protect the tooth’s vulnerable inside from further bacterial infection while simultaneously reinforcing the tooth to restore its proper function.

Improving an Old Concept

Made from a mixture of silver, mercury, zinc, and other trace metals, amalgam fillings are strong and can last a long time with proper care and maintenance. Like most metals, however, amalgam is subject to hot and cold temperatures, expanding and contracting (respectively) when exposed to either. If an amalgam filling contracts, it can create spaces between the filling and tooth, allowing oral bacteria to reenter the tooth’s interior and finish the destruction it started. If the metal filling expands, the inflexible tooth will be unable to accommodate it and may crack, fracture, or completely break. This flaw, coupled with the unsightly metal flashes when a patient smiles and speaks, can make the traditional restorations less-than-ideal. By contrast, composite resin is tinted to match a tooth’s natural color, and the material is bonded to the tooth’s surface for a more effective seal and improved structural support.

About Your Livonia Dentist:

James Steward, DDS, and our compassionate staff proudly serve patients of all ages from Livonia, Farmington Hills, Plymouth, Northville, Dearborn Heights, Garden City, and all surrounding communities. To schedule an appointment, call our office today at (734) 425-4400.