Upgrade Your Smile with Tooth-Colored Fillings
Dr. Michael J. Wei, DDS – Manhattan New York City Cosmetic Dentist
Everyone gets cavities. Everyone does not, however, get the same kind of tooth fillings. There was a time when tooth decay was repaired with metal patches on the teeth. Now, however, modern dentistry has given us strong, tooth-colored composite resin. New York City dentist Dr. Michael J. Wei places only safe composite fillings for a durable and natural-looking smile.
Choose a NYC Dentist Who Practices Mercury-Free Dentistry
Amalgam was once the go-to material for repairing tooth decay and filling cavities. Unfortunately, amalgam is partially composed of mercury. A toxic material, mercury has proven to be harmful to the body, even at minimal levels of exposure. Over time, with biting and chewing wearing away at silver fillings, the mercury can leach out and penetrate the rest of your system. The more teeth that contain amalgam fillings, the bigger a threat the mercury becomes.
Mercury is also the ingredient responsible for creating the abnormal, metallic coloring of amalgam fillings. The longer you have amalgam fillings in your mouth, the more likely you are to experience discoloration – usually, a graying – of portions of the tooth and even the surrounding gums.
You want to choose a New York City dentist who practices mercury-free dentistry because, at a practice like this, you know that patient safety comes first. Not to mention, the natural appearance of tooth-colored fillings is an excellent benefit.
What Elements Make Up a Tooth-Colored Fillings?
Tooth-colored fillings are comprised of complex and strong composite materials, usually made of plastic and zirconia or silica. Tooth-colored fillings provide added support and protection for your teeth, as well as a more natural-looking color that is barely detectable on the treated tooth. Mercury-free filling techniques offer the highest degree of safety without sacrificing aesthetically pleasing results.
While you want your teeth and smile to look great, never lose sight of the importance of the tooth-colored fillings – the goal is to save your tooth. Ideally, the composite fillings you receive will stop tooth decay from moving any further, save the tooth from cracks or breaks, and eliminate any further tooth damage. After all, you want to try and avoid a tooth that needs to be pulled because of decay.
Still not convinced? Know this: Tooth-colored fillings are 90 to 95 percent as strong as a healthy, natural tooth. Silver fillings are only 40 to 45 percent as strong, and they are unsightly and unstable.
How Tooth-Colored Fillings Are Applied
Whenever your Midtown Manhattan dentist discovers tooth decay in your mouth, the first step is gently but thoroughly removing the decay. The last thing you want is any decay that remains trapped in the tooth and festers. (For cavities that have become far too deep and painful, a root canal and porcelain crown may be necessary.)
The next step is to tint composite resin to match the patient’s tooth color, and place the composite resin in the hole that was left by the cavity. A cool light hardens – or cures – the resin to make sure it is bonded completely in place. The resin is then sculpted to the correct shape so that it is comfortable for your bite and looks great at the same time. The newly repaired tooth will then have its tooth-colored filling polished to a healthy shine.
The Versatile Tooth-Colored Filling
It is not just cavities that are repaired with tooth-colored fillings. This versatile cosmetic dentistry solution can manage many oral health problems. For example, composite fillings can be used to:
- Fix a cavity or decayed tooth.
- Build up a broken tooth.
- Repair cracked teeth.
- Reshape a disfigured tooth.
Ultimately, the composite filling looks amazing while also protecting your tooth from any further decay. By adding a tooth-colored filling to a problem tooth, you improve the stability of the teeth surrounding it. With repairs, any neighboring teeth to a damaged or decayed tooth are at a higher risk of developing problems.
Inlays and onlays also fit into the composite filling category. When a decayed tooth needs a more robust solution than a filling but a less-invasive solution than a crown, an inlay or onlay – composed of the same materials as tooth-colored fillings – gets the job done. An inlay is used to repair the indented top surface of the tooth. If one or more cusps are affected by the decay, an onlay is used. Both of these solutions are incredibly strong and long-lasting.
Suspect you have a cavity? Want to safely have old amalgam fillings removed and replaced with tooth-colored fillings? Visit your Midtown Manhattan dentist, Dr. Michael J. Wei for a consultation about restorative dentistry and your oral health needs.