Tooth-colored restorations allow a tooth to be filled with a strong chemically bonded material that can be matched to the color of your tooth, making the filling appear nearly invisible. These natural white-colored bonded fillings are 90 to 95% as strong as a natural non-cavity healthy tooth. A silver filling is only 40 to 45% as strong as a non-cavity tooth.
Tooth-colored restorations replace unsightly silver dental amalgam. The composite resins used in today’s tooth-colored restorations were introduced in the 1960’s, and have undergone continual improvements in durability, color stability, material-handling qualities, and aesthetic properties. Tooth-colored restorations are actually bonded to remaining tooth structure, as 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 because less drilling of the tooth is required to secure the filling.
Major benefits of tooth-colored restorations
- Beautiful in appearance
- Completed in a single visit
- No filling leaks
- Less chance of tooth cracking
Tooth-colored filling material comes in a great number of shades and is matched to your individual tooth color. The materials used for front teeth have a high shine, whereas the materials for back teeth are designed for strength. Tooth-colored restorations look natural and can be virtually undetectable.
Tooth-colored fillings are now harder and thus comparable to silver amalgam fillings. A small tooth-colored filling could last a lifetime, and larger such fillings can be expected to last many years. The factors that determine the life span of a particular tooth-colored filling include: the biting force on the filling, the size of the filling relative to the tooth (smaller fillings will usually be more durable than larger fillings), and how teeth are cleaned and maintained.
A new filling should feel natural, like your own teeth. After the anesthesia has worn off and you can feel your teeth and bite again, you should not notice anything particularly different. It should be smooth and comfortable. There is a period that you might feel some sensitivity to temperature after the restoration. This is temporary as with any other restoration.