Dentists in Escondido are using porcelain and composite resins for predictable, safe results that react and look like a patient’s natural teeth. Read on to learn more about the tooth-colored white fillings available at the local office.
What Are White Fillings, Tooth-Colored or Composite Fillings?
Composite or tooth-colored fillings are often used to restore a tooth’s shape after it’s been damaged by a cavity. Once the rotted enamel has been removed, visible holes must be filled. While dentists often use amalgam fillings on back teeth, composite fillings can be safely and effectively used in most cases. The same tooth-colored, pliable resin can also be used to cosmetically augment the color, size, or shape of a patient’s tooth in a process called dental bonding. The resin may even be used to cover small cracks and chips, or to fill minor gaps between a patient’s teeth.
What are Patients’ Teeth Made Of?
The outer part of a human tooth is known as enamel, which is one of the hardest materials naturally made by any living thing. Enamel consists of closely-knit calcium crystals that are absent of living tissue. Dental porcelain effectively and easily mimics the enameled portion of a patient’s tooth.
The inside part of the tooth is called dentin, which, much like bone, is porous. Dentin is composed of microscopic collagen tubes and calcium crystal deposits; it’s a living thing that’s very sensitive. Feeling is transmitted in the dentin via pulp, or nerve tissues, at the very center of a tooth. Today, resin and silica composites mimic natural dentin, and they’re commonly used in non-metal fillings.
Bonding for White Fillings
Amalgams and metal cavity fillings cannot bond with the teeth. Rather, they rest on the tooth’s surface, providing limited protection. Today’s Escondido dentists know much more about the way enamel and dentin work together, and this knowledge has led to the discovery of new ways to bond teeth and fillings. These newer, stronger fillings create firmer connections and make patients more comfortable than in the past.
White Fillings – Rebuilding Teeth With Composite Materials
Rebuilding or restoring teeth successfully depends on a proper bond between the enamel, dentin, and resin materials. In restorative dentistry, the practitioner recreates teeth that not only look natural, but work naturally as well, allowing bite force and stress to pass through safely.
Working With Nature to Provide the Best Results
In the not-so-distant past, dentists often used rigid, durable materials to strengthen damaged or decayed teeth. While short-term results were good, these materials frequently caused further decay, cracking, and damage. Today’s Escondido dentists use a more natural approach, with materials that closely imitate the form and function of a patient’s real teeth. Restorative dentistry is equal parts science and art, and it carefully considers the tooth’s internal shape and desired action. Teeth, or portions of them, are recreated using composite materials that work and respond as healthy, natural teeth would.
Dentin Sealing and Buildup
In immediate dentin sealing, a resin coating is used to protect and seal the dentin surface. Sensitivity and bacteria are kept out, and the process also creates a layer to which more resin can be bonded and shaped. During the buildup phase, resin is layered to fill voids and recreate the original shape of the tooth. Amalgam fillings are problematic here because they require undercuts to be held in place; undercutting takes away part of the healthy tooth and may cause future deterioration. However, resin buildups don’t create such problems.
Direct, Indirect, and Semi-Direct Restorations
All the above methods are used to repair a patient’s teeth with restorative fillings and materials. Each approach has its own pros and cons, and a dentist can determine which method suits a patient’s needs.
Direct fillings use a small amount of the restorative material, which is placed into a decay-related cavity. Resin is applied by the layer and set with a light, which means that the treatment can be completed in a single office visit.
Indirect fillings are often used in complex or large restorations. When there isn’t enough healthy tooth material left for a filling, a restorative piece is created to crown or replace most of the tooth’s visible area. An indirect filling is a more intricate procedure, and as such, multiple office visits are required.
Semi-direct fillings are used to repair larger areas. They’re much like direct fillings in that resin layers are used, but these restorations are removed and set outside of the patient’s mouth. Once a piece is set, it’s bonded to the natural tooth. A semi-direct filling may use computer-aided technology to create inlays. This technology lets dentists make harder and more durable restorations without sending molds to outside fabrication facilities. With a semi-direct filling, patients may get the results they want in a shorter time.
Curious to know which approach is best for a patient’s situation? Call our Escondido office for a consultation.
What Is the Biggest Benefit of White Fillings – Composite Fillings in Escondido?
There are many reasons to consider restorative dentistry with composite or tooth-colored fillings, but one of the biggest benefits is also the most obvious: the restoration is unnoticeable when the patient smiles. The resin is matched as closely as possible to the color of the patient’s teeth, for a seamless result. In some instances, placing such a filling can strengthen the tooth and improve its durability, especially if the tooth has been chipped or cracked. Again, the resin is color-matched to the tooth and applied by the layer. As the layers are shaped, an Escondido dentist will use a special light to harden them.
Call Today to Learn About White Fillings or to Schedule a Consultation
Composite tooth-colored fillings are a natural-looking way to restore a patient’s smile. If a patient has questions about these fillings, or if they need to schedule a routine dental checkup, they can call the office or visit us online today.