Tooth-colored Fillings Can Restore Teeth without Diminishing Your Smile’s Appearance
Dr. John G. Fatse and Dr. John Scovic can provide you with tooth-colored fillings at our Monroe, CT, office to repair cavities while retaining a natural-looking appearance. Our office offers both direct and indirect tooth-colored fillings. Direct tooth-colored (white) fillings use composite resin material to repair small areas of damage. Indirect fillings (inlays and onlays) can often restore larger cavities without the need to fully cover the tooth with a crown. Using CEREC® technology, we can create strong and durable indirect fillings right in our office to complete your treatment in one visit.
Selecting a Filling Type
If you have a cavity or other minor damage to a tooth, your dentist will help you select the type of filling that is best for you. Some of the factors he will take into consideration include the current condition of your teeth, the size of the damaged area, the location of the tooth being restored, and the forces involved with the tooth during chewing and other normal jaw movements.
Patients generally prefer white fillings over metal amalgam (silver) fillings for minor damage because they do not compromise the aesthetics of their smile. They bond very well to the tooth’s structure and restore approximately 90% of its original strength. Compared to metal fillings, composite fillings have fewer issues with sensitivity, and if they become damaged they can be repaired.
An indirect filling may be preferable if you have a back tooth with mild to moderate decay. They can also repair rear teeth that are cracked or fractured but lack enough damage to require a crown. Indirect fillings may also be made out of gold, but as with amalgam, these do not blend in with the color of the teeth. Indirect fillings are extremely durable, and they restore approximately 75% of the tooth’s original strength. An inlay will not extend beyond the edges (cusps) of a tooth, while an onlay covers more of the tooth’s surface area. Indirect filings are often used when old metal fillings need to be replaced.
Direct Filling Procedure
First, your tooth and the surrounding area will be numbed with local anesthetic for your comfort. Your dentist will prepare your tooth by removing the decayed areas with a dental laser. The laser energy sterilizes the tooth and minimizes the risk of future decay. It also eliminates the need for drills that can cause discomfort and have the potential to fracture the tooth. He will then apply the putty-like composite resin material to fill in the cavity or missing area. The resin is hardened with an ultraviolet (UV) light, and then filed down so it does not interfere with your bite.
Tooth-colored fillings are so closely matched to the shade of your natural teeth that your filling is practically invisible.
Indirect Filling Procedure
As with a direct filling, your dentist will first numb the area and remove any decay or damage with our dental laser. Next, he will take digital images of your tooth using an intraoral camera. With these images, he will design your ceramic filling using the CEREC® software. When this is complete, he will send it to the in-office milling unit for fabrication. Creating your custom indirect filling takes less than 15 minutes. Once your restoration has been created, he will insert it like a puzzle piece in your tooth and cement it into place.
Benefits of Tooth-colored Fillings
There are a number of benefits of tooth-colored fillings, especially when compared to metal amalgam fillings. Although they are strong, amalgam fillings actually weaken your tooth over time. This is because the metal expands and contracts with changes in temperatures, which can damage your tooth as well as cause sensitivity. Metal fillings also contain trace amounts of mercury. Tooth-colored fillings, on the other hand, are non-toxic, and actually strengthen your tooth.
A filling is almost always preferable to a dental crown because it requires less removal of tooth structure. To accommodate a dental crown, we have to remove more of your natural tooth, including some of the healthy parts. We prefer the more conservative approach of tooth-colored fillings as much as possible.
With our CEREC® machine, we can create precision indirect fillings that will outlast most other fillings and provide superior strength to your tooth. We can match these fillings to your smile’s natural shade, and the creation process is straightforward and fast.
For most patients, the greatest benefit of tooth-colored filings is that they completely blend in with your smile. Tooth-colored fillings are so closely matched to the shade of your natural teeth that your filling is practically invisible.
Schedule Your Appointment
Whether you receive a direct or indirect tooth-colored filling, your tooth will be restored to health and look completely natural after treatment. If you have a cavity and are in need of a filling, contact our dental office today to schedule your appointment.