Tooth Colored Restorations or fillings are also referred to as composites, because they are composed of a complex molecular structure of a resin matrix and fillers.
Composites or resins were introduced in the 1960’s, and have undergone continual improvements in durability, color stability, material handling qualities, and esthetic properties.
Tooth colored restorations are actually bonded to remaining tooth structure compared to silver/amalgam restorations, which are “locked” into tooth structure. This property of resin restorations makes them a very conservative approach to tooth restoration after caries removal.
Tooth Color Restoration is a procedure in which a tooth-colored resin material (a durable plastic material) is applied and hardened with a special light, which ultimately “bonds” the material to the tooth to restore or improve person’s smile.
FOR WHAT CONDITIONS IS Tooth Color Restoration CONSIDERED?
Tooth Color Restoration is an option that can be considered:
- To repair cavities
- To repair chipped or broken teeth
- To change the color of discolored teeth.
- To close gaps between front teeth.
- To make teeth look longer
- As an alternative to silver fillings.
- To protect the roots of teeth when gums recede
Advantages of Tooth-Colored Restorations
There are many advantages to tooth-colored restorations. Resin onlays are bonded to the teeth creating a tight, superior fit to the natural tooth. Such restorations can be used in instances where much of the tooth structure has been lost. The tooth remains intact and stronger.
Since the resin used in tooth-colored restorations contain fluoride this can help prevent decay. The resin wears like natural teeth and does not require placement at the gum line, which is healthier for your gums!
The result is a beautiful smile!
We are a mercury-free practice. However, many people still have silver/mercury fillings in their mouths from years past. These fillings are not particularly pleasing to the eye, and we know that by unavoidable design, silver/mercury fillings ultimately result in a weaker tooth structure. Porcelain inlays and Tooth Colored Restorations (onlays) create fillings that are not only beautiful (or unnoticeable) but also add strength to weakened teeth. These restorations are esthetically pleasing and very strong thanks to new bonding technologies.
Disadvantages of Silver fillings:
Silver fillings have many drawbacks. The edges of the silver filling can wear down, become weak or break. This results in the tooth not being protected and lets cavities get started once again. With age, the metal of a silver filling expands, contracts, and can split.
Fortunately, silver fillings can safely be replaced with Tooth-Colored Restorations when indicated.
Replacing Silver Fillings with a Tooth Colored Restoration
You can have your silver fillings replaced with tooth-colored restorations (onlays). This process requires two appointments.
Your First Appointment:
- The old filling is removed along with any additional decay.
- An impression is made of your teeth. A model of your teeth is made and sent to the lab.
- A temporary onlay is placed on the tooth.
At the Lab: A resin is carefully placed into the model of your teeth. It is then designed to look natural.
Your Second Appointment:
- The temporary onlay is removed.
- A conditioning gel is placed on your tooth to prepare it for the new onlay.
- Bonding cement is placed on the tooth and a high intensity light bonds the resin to the tooth.
- The tooth is then polished.
Your teeth are restored to a natural look and feel, they are stronger and the tooth is protected!