Restoring damaged teeth is a matter of health first and aesthetics second. When the outer layer of enamel has been compromised, either due to injury or decay, the inner portions of the tooth are vulnerable to infection. Fortunately, today's safest and most effective fillings also look natural and unobtrusive. At Sherman Oaks Dental in Naperville, we use only tooth colored fillings.
Tooth colored fillings are made from composite resins, a biocompatible synthetic material which matches the color of your teeth and can be used to repair almost any structural or cosmetic damage your teeth have sustained. Unlike metal amalgam fillings, composite fillings are mercury-free, making them a safe and healthy option for restorative dentistry.
One of the biggest drawbacks of metal fillings is the way they react to heat and cold. The alloys that have been used in the past are known to expand and contract at rates very different from the tooth they fill—so, when they are exposed to temperature changes, metal fillings can cause discomfort and damage the tooth as they shift and expand.
Tooth colored fillings are much better at avoiding this problem. Their material is far more compatible with dental enamel, meaning that the filling will bond more securely to the tooth. It is also less responsive to heat and cold, so you don’t have to suffer the discomfort of an expanding filling.
Composite fillings are also tough and durable. Their exact lifespan depends on the size and position of the cavity they fill, but with proper care, they can last ten years or more.
The first step in any procedure involving composite resins is to prepare your tooth by removing compromised sections and ensuring that the surface will bond with the resin. We then mix and apply the resin, sculpting it into the appropriate shape. Finally, the resin is hardened with a specialized curing light. The procedure is very quick, taking as little as half an hour per tooth.
When placing a filling, we have to remove the damaged portion of the tooth, as well as a small amount of the healthy tooth structure, to prepare the way for the filling. But with composite fillings, we are able to remove far less than we did with metal fillings. In this way, a greater portion of your original, healthy tooth structure is preserved for a much more conservative approach to dentistry.
Composite resins have proven useful in a wide variety of dental situations, not just for repairs but also for cosmetic dentistry. By applying and sculpting the resin material, we can accomplish almost anything that could be done with crowns, veneers, and tooth whitening, and can even have some of the visual straightening and gap-filling effects achieved by braces. If you have chipped, long, undersized, crooked, misshapen, or gappy teeth, cosmetic bonding may be the quickest and most affordable solution for you.
When a tooth is damaged, it will only get worse without treatment. Cosmetic bonding and tooth-colored fillings offer a fast, easy way to address a wide range of issues. If you have experienced tooth injuries or decay—or if you’re simply unsatisfied with the look of your teeth—contact us at Sherman Oaks in Naperville to schedule an appointment.