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The Difference Between Tooth-Colored Fillings and Traditional Fillings

Dental fillings are a common solution for restoring teeth damaged by cavities. The purpose of a filling is to prevent further damage to the tooth, which could result in tooth loss. Fillings can also be used for cracked, worn down, or broken teeth.

There are two main types of fillings: traditional metal fillings and tooth-colored fillings. Tooth-colored fillings are made of materials that match the natural color of the teeth, whereas traditional fillings are made of metals that make them noticeable. The choice of filling material depends on factors such as preferred durability, aesthetics, and cost, as well as the extent of the decay and the dentist’s recommendation.

Our dentist in Oshawa, ON has created a concise guide to help you make informed decisions about your filling options.

Traditional Fillings

In the past, silver amalgam was the only available option for dental fillings. Despite its name, this type of filling is composed of different amounts of copper, tin, silver, and mercury, with mercury being the main component at 50%. Due to the high mercury content, there is a growing preference for composite materials as an alternative. Another downside of metal fillings is that they tend to contract and expand with temperature changes, leading to changes in the shape of the filling and potential damage to the tooth.

Tooth-Colored Fillings

In Harmony Dental Care, tooth-colored fillings are a great option to maintain your oral health. These fillings are made of a composite material that is usually a mixture of plastic and porcelain, which minimizes the chance of allergies and makes them more comfortable than metal fillings. One of their most significant advantages is that they blend seamlessly with the natural color of your tooth, making them much less noticeable than metal fillings. Tooth-colored fillings can last for many years with proper care.

Benefits of Tooth-Colored Fillings

Tooth-colored fillings are a popular and safe option for treating tooth decay. Here are some of the benefits of tooth-colored fillings in Oshawa, ON:

Aesthetically Pleasing: White cavity fillings are made from tooth-colored materials that blend in with your existing teeth. Unlike gold and silver fillings, they are natural-looking and can be beneficial for patients who need dental fillings in their front teeth or other visible teeth.

Quick Treatment: Tooth-colored fillings typically take only one dental visit to complete. After receiving a numbing agent, your dentist will remove the decay, etch and bond the tooth, layer the composite resin, and harden it with a special curing light. The entire process takes about an hour.

Additional Support: The composite resin used in tooth-colored fillings is bonded to the tooth’s structure, providing more support. Unlike traditional metal fillings, which destroy a significant amount of healthy tooth structure, tooth-colored fillings are bonded on top of a tooth to preserve it and maximize its strength.

Versatile: Tooth-colored fillings are a versatile option that dentists use to repair chipped, broken, or worn teeth due to their fast bonding time and natural-looking appearance.

Resistant to Temperature Changes: Tooth-colored fillings are less affected by temperature changes, making dental problems like cracks and fractures less likely to occur when consuming hot and cold beverages.

Benefits of Traditional Fillings

Some of the benefits of traditional fillings include the following:

Strength and durability: They can withstand wear and tear.

Cost-effective: Traditional fillings are often less expensive than composite alternatives, which can be a consideration for patients concerned about the cost of dental treatment.

Disadvantages of Tooth-Colored Fillings

Tooth-colored fillings, such as composite resin fillings, also have some drawbacks, which include:

  • Not as long-lasting as amalgam fillings, often lasting less than half the time.
  • It takes longer to complete the filling procedure, with an average of 20 minutes longer than amalgams.
  • Significantly more expensive than amalgam fillings.

Disadvantages of Traditional Fillings

Although traditional dental fillings have several benefits, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider, including:

  • Lack of aesthetic appeal because they do not match the color of natural teeth
  • The need to remove more tooth structure to accommodate the filling material, which can weaken the tooth
  • The possibility of causing discoloration in nearby teeth due to the metal content
  • Rare instances of tooth fractures caused by the filling expanding and contracting with temperature changes
  • A small risk of allergic reactions to the filling material.
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