At Dr. Amin Taba’s Kenmore, WA dental practice, we focus our services on preventive dentistry. We believe the key to providing the best dental care is to help patients achieve and maintain the optimal level of oral health. When oral health concerns do arise, we work with patients to determine the most conservative treatment option. This means selecting dentistry services that are minimally invasive, preserve maximum natural structure, and effectively correct damaged teeth. For years, silver-colored amalgam fillings have been the standard in cavity restoration, but recently, dentists have started utilizing tooth-colored, composite resin filling materials. Composite resin looks and feels more natural, and offers patients a fully restored bite without metallic colored fillings marring their smiles.
What is Composite Resin?
Composite resin is a combination of plastic and glass mixed and shaded to perfectly match patients’ smiles. This composite resin material looks and feels like natural dental structure when applied, and is easily shaped in place on the tooth. Sometimes called direct fillings, composite resin restorations are used to reshape and return structure and function to teeth damaged by tooth decay, or small chips, cracks, and breaks.
How are Tooth-Colored Fillings Placed?
Traditional amalgam fillings are sometimes referred to as indirect fillings because the amalgam is shaped outside the tooth and cemented into place after it hardens. Tooth-colored fillings are applied directly to the affected tooth or teeth. The composite resin has a texture similar to clay or putty and is easily formed to refill or reshape damaged teeth. Because there is no added layer of connective cement, composite fillings bond more closely with tooth enamel. This makes tooth-colored fillings less likely to break away from the tooth over time.
Are there Oral Health Benefits to Choosing Cosmetic Fillings?
In addition to looking more natural, tooth-colored fillings have several oral health benefits including:
- Protect dental structure – because the composite material is directly bonded to enamel, it protects and supports natural dental structure. This means teeth are less likely to have additional decay or damage in the future.
- Less likely to crack or break – amalgam fillings often break away from the tooth as bonding materials begin to disintegrate.
- No worry about metal sensitivities – patients who are sensitive to metals traditionally do not experience issues with composite resin.
- No temperature sensitivities – amalgam fillings expand and contract when exposed to changes in temperature which can lead to pain, sensitivity, or breaking.
- Single visit treatment – unlike amalgam filling and other indirect restorations, composite resin fillings do not need to be crafted and hardened outside the mouth before placing. Thus, patients are able to complete their filling procedure in one visit.
- Minimal drilling – because composite resin is directly applied it can be more precisely shaped meaning minimal drilling and maximum preservation of natural tooth enamel.
- Easily repaired – when damaged, amalgam fillings typically need to be completely replaced, but composite resin fillings can often be repaired.
How can I Find out More?
If you’re worried you have a cavity or it’s been more than six months since your last dental checkup and professional teeth cleaning, contact Dr. Taba and our dentistry team today. We’re happy to offer preventive screenings for tooth decay, gum disease, and other common oral health concerns. We can also answer questions you may have about your dental health, and make treatment recommendations when necessary.