When you have tooth decay, it’s normal for your dentist to remove it and then fill it with a white filling. When the decay isn’t removed, it’s not only bad for your oral health, but it can cause your teeth to look unsightly. Eventually, the decay can transition into a tooth infection that requires a root canal or extraction. In the past, metal or silver fillings were the norm when it came to restoring teeth. Metal fillings come with a number of problems, not to mention they look unsightly. To help bring your smile back to health and maintain its beauty, Dr. Polley is proud to offer white fillings at our Summerlin dental office. White fillings blend in with your natural teeth and offer the strength your teeth need to regain their health.
If you would like to learn more about white fillings or have your metal fillings replaced with white fillings, please call our dental office in Summerlin at (702) 873-0324 or email us to schedule an appointment with cosmetic dentist Dr. James B. Polley.
Benefits of White Fillings
White dental fillings are one of the most common types of restorative dentistry procedures in the United States. Although they are a newer technique to treat tooth decay as an alternative to metal amalgam fillings – a 200-year-old treatment. White fillings use better technology and produce better results for the following reasons.
- Blend in with teeth for more attractive results
- Use color matching with existing teeth colors
- Don’t turn black or oxidize
- Bond directly to the teeth to create a tight seal
- Insulate teeth to reduce heat and cold sensitivity
- Don’t cause heat cracking of teeth
- Can strengthen teeth
- Don’t allow percolation of fluid into teeth
The above benefits don’t just mean that white fillings make your teeth look more attractive, but also that they make your teeth healthier. When dentists use metal fillings, they essentially stuff the material into the drilled hole where we removed the cavity. Since the metal cannot bond to your tooth, it just rests inside the hole without creating a seal. This then makes it possible for the material to seep into your teeth. Problems become worse with metal fillings when you drink cold liquids because the cold causes the metal filling to shrink faster than dentin and tooth enamel. As a result, it creates a space around the filling where water can enter, allowing contamination and bacteria to enter your tooth. This is known as percolation.
If you have metal fillings and drink something hot, the metal fillings expand faster than your tooth material which can cause your teeth to crack. Although it may only form tiny cracks, this can lead to significant damage down the road.
The other concern with metal fillings is that they contain mercury which is toxic. However, the American Dental Association (ADA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) claim that amalgam fillings that contain mercury are safe. Although evidence about this claim is mixed, most people avoid the potential risk anyway. White fillings do not contain any mercury making them completely safe.
Composite Fillings, Inlays, and Onlays
If you need a filling, there are two different types to choose from. The first one is a resin-based composite while the second is ceramic inlays and onlays.
Made of a plastic material, resin-based composites contain ceramic particles to strengthen your tooth. It starts out as soft putty that Dr. Polley places inside your prepared tooth. The material bonds to your teeth to create a good seal. Dr. Polley then places a curing light over the filling to harden the material. He finishes by polishing your tooth for a natural appearance.
The second type of white filling is an inlay or onlay. These fillings are made of ceramic materials like dental crowns using our CEREC system. They look like partial crowns and provide your tooth with an attractive way to strength and repair your tooth.
If you need a dental filling and would like to find out which type of white filling is right for you, please call (702) 873-0324 or contact our Summerlin dentist, Dr. Polley to schedule an appointment.