Following minor tooth decay or damage, fillings are used to repair the lost tooth structure. At the Marietta dental office of James A. Merriman, DMD, FAGD, we use tooth-colored fillings to deliver results that look like your natural smile. If you need a filling following a cavity, tooth chip, or crack, call Dr. Merriman and his Marietta dental team to schedule your restorative dentistry appointment.
Composite resin is a tooth-colored material made of a plastic resin and silica filler. These materials are custom shaded to match any tooth color. They offer patients with tooth decay, chips, and cracks the opportunity to recreate natural looking, feeling, and functioning tooth structure.
Amalgam VS Tooth-Colored Fillings
Traditionally, metal amalgams were used to fill teeth. Unfortunately, this filling material had a number of drawbacks when it came to repairing smiles including:
- To hold an amalgam metal filling in place, healthy tooth structure had to be removed to create wedges in the enamel
- Amalgam expands and contracts at a higher rate than tooth enamel, which can damage the tooth or allow bacteria to accumulate between the fillings and the restoration
- Over time, amalgam metal weakens the tooth, and the majority of patients will need to have their filling replaced
- Patients with allergies or sensitivities to metal may experience irritation or inflammation of the soft tissue
For these reasons, we use tooth-colored fillings to repair dental damage and decay while preserving the greatest amount of healthy tooth structure. Additionally, composite resin fuses with the healthy enamel strengthening the tooth.
Tooth-Colored Filling placement
Tooth-colored fillings are placed in one appointment. We begin by numbing the area. Then we remove damaged or decayed dental structure. A solution is applied to the prepared teeth to create a more porous surface for the filling to fuse with. Then, the putty-like composite resin is applied directly to the prepared tooth where it will fill in the smallest crevices in the tooth structures. The composite is then shaped into position over the prepared tooth to replace the lost enamel. Once the putty-like resin is in place, a curing light is applied to the composite hardening it into place. Then, the filling is smoothed and polished, leaving you with a flawless, natural looking smile.
We can also use tooth-colored filling material to perform purely cosmetic procedures. This cosmetic dentistry treatment is called cosmetic bonding. We utilize composite resin to correct or conceal dental flaws. The placement process is the same as the one we use for tooth-colored fillings. For many patients, cosmetic bonding is a viable alternative to porcelain veneers to correct smile flaws in just one appointment.