A Beautiful Way to Restore Damaged or Decayed Teeth
Restoring a damaged or decayed tooth used to involve placing a metal filling. Depending on the affected tooth’s location in the mouth, the restoration was likely to look extremely conspicuous. Many dentists also felt there were serious health concerns associated with mercury levels in the metal materials.
Cosmetic and restorative dentists like Dr. Raymond Hatland now offer attractive, natural-looking fillings using tooth-colored materials like porcelain or composite resin. When placed on a tooth, the fillings look nearly identical to natural, healthy tooth structure. Tooth-colored fillings are also considered to be “biologically friendly,” and better for the overall health and lifespan of your affected tooth.
What Does a Filling Do?
Fillings are small restorations used to rebuild teeth affected by damage (i.e., cracks or large chips) or decay (i.e., cavities). The filling material is applied to the tooth to rebuild the chewing surface for better biting and chewing, as well as to strengthen the tooth and restore a normal appearance.
Tooth-colored fillings are made from either porcelain or composite resin (a mixture of plastic and glass). Not only are these materials more attractive, they are better for your teeth. Metal materials required more healthy tooth structure to be removed in order to secure the filling into the tooth; specifically, a series of “undercuts” or ledges had to be created by cutting out healthy tooth material to help hold the filling in place. But tooth-colored materials bond to the tooth structure. Composite resin can be applied directly to the tooth, sculpted like a putty and hardened with a special light. Porcelain fillings are custom-crafted in a dental laboratory and fit snugly into the space left by the cavity, without requiring undercuts or ledges.
Another benefit of tooth-colored fillings is the flexibility of the materials. Unlike metal fillings, which are stiff and can stress your teeth, putting them at risk of cracking, tooth-colored fillings absorb the forces of biting and chewing much like natural tooth structure does. This conservative approach is better for the long-term preservation of your tooth.
Placing a Filling
The first step to getting a filling is to have Dr. Hatland examine your affected tooth. Together you can review your filling options and select the best fit for your needs based on the location of the tooth in your mouth, your personal preferences and other factors.
Dr. Hatland will then prepare your tooth by removing any decay and cleaning the tooth. If he is using a composite resin material, he will place it directly in the tooth, sculpt as needed and harden it with a special light. If you have opted for a porcelain filling, Dr. Hatland will take impressions and other records to send to a dental laboratory to create the filling; you will need to return for another appointment to have the porcelain filling placed.
Contact Dr. Hatland Today
If you would like to discuss tooth-colored fillings and whether they are right for you, Dr. Hatland invites you to book a consultation at our Chicago or Indianapolis offices. Together, we can find the best solution for your dental needs.