Question: Silver fillings are too visible, what are my other options?


Natural tooth-colored fillings have become widely accepted and are used in place of silver fillings. There are even studies that show that in some cases, use of certain tooth-colored materials can strengthen a tooth, making it a better choice than the metallic predecessor - amalgam. Two basic types of tooth-colored restorations are used: composite and ceramic.

Question: What is a Composite Restoration?


Composites have been used for many years however their chemical make-up has changed and improved exponentially. The bonding agents used to make the composites adhere to the tooth have improved just as dramatically. Because of the improvements, the use of composites has become widely accepted by dentists and the indications for their use are more numerous. They are being used to close undesirable spaces, improve the shape, size and color of a tooth, replace an unsightly amalgam restoration, cover abraded or worn areas of a tooth (usually at the gum line) and to cover stains. Composites can also be used to protect thermally sensitive areas and to repair and strengthen broken teeth.

Question: How are composite restorations placed?


Once the tooth has been prepared and all decay removed, chemicals and materials are placed on the tooth to increase bond strength and to protect the tooth. Next, the composite material is placed incrementally into the tooth and is hardened by exposure to a special curing light. The restoration is then contoured to fit the bite and then is highly polished. These fillings require a bit more time than the silver fillings because of the number of steps involved. Composite fillings can also be a bit more sensitive, at first, to extreme hot and cold and they may discolor over time if the patient smokes or drinks a lot of coffee, tea or cola. They can also be more expensive and some composites may wear faster than silver fillings; however, they yield a much more natural and aesthetic result. Ceramic fillings, like composites, come in several different types that can be used for different situations. Ceramics are typically used for the larger and more broken down areas. In these cases, an inlay or onlay to cover more of the tooth's surface may be indicated. These restorations are indirect because they require two visits and fabrication by a dental laboratory. The ceramic restorations are considerably more expensive and therefore simple, one-visit composite fillings are typically used instead. Ceramic restorations are much more durable and will not stain. Naturally speaking, the final result with ceramics is spectacular.

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