It used to be that if you had to get a cavity filled, you would get an amalgam filling. But not anymore! Now, you can get white fillings, which have many advantages over those old-fashioned metal fillings. Dr. Talib Salim Ali and his team at Avatar Dental can give you a healthy and beautiful smile with white fillings!
White fillings are known as tooth-colored fillings because they can be made to look just like a patient’s natural tooth. They are used not just for filling cavities; they can be used for other purposes as well. They are used to restore teeth that have been chipped or fractured or which have a lot of decay. They are used in cosmetic dentistry; they can change the size, color and shape of teeth, make teeth appear more even, help to close gaps between teeth, and help teeth to appear straighter.
If you are interested in white fillings for cosmetic dentistry, Dr. Ali will want to perform an examination of your teeth before deciding if white fillings are the right choice. If you need a cavity filled, Dr. Ali will want to make sure that a white filling is appropriate. This can depend on many factors, such as the amount of decay in the tooth, the size of the damaged area in the tooth, and how strong the restoration will have to be.
If a white filling is the best option, Dr. Ali will clean out any tooth decay. Anesthetizing the area isn’t necessary just for placing the filling, but Dr. Ali may numb the area if there is tooth decay under the enamel of the tooth or around the nerve. When the tooth is clean and ready, Dr. Ali will apply a weak acid (known as the primer). This acid opens pores in the enamel and the dentin of the tooth. He will then apply a bonding agent into these open pores and “cure” the agent, which will help the filling to adhere to the tooth.
He will then place the filling material and shape it until it looks natural, and then harden it with a curing light. Once it has hardened, Dr. Ali will check your bite to make sure your teeth fit together properly and to make sure the filling won’t interfere with flossing between your teeth. He may need to adjust the filling. When it fits just right, he will smooth and polish the filling.
White fillings are made of composite resins, which makes them strong and durable. In fact, when white fillings are bonded to the tooth, it restores 85 percent to 95 percent of the original strength of the tooth.
White fillings bond chemically to the tooth unlike other kinds of materials that require pins, grooves, slots or pins in the tooth to help mechanically retain them. Once applied they harden in seconds, unlike other materials that can take days. If white fillings are damaged, it is easy to repair them. And of course, because they are tooth-colored, they are not noticeable at all, which makes them perfect for teeth that can easily be seen when you open your mouth.
When you are having a cavity filled, your dentist has other filling materials to choose from: gold and amalgam. Both of these are very strong and durable, but they also have their drawbacks.
Gold fillings can cost a lot, and it often takes more than one visit to the dentist to have them placed. Amalgams are cheaper and it only takes one visit to place them, but many patients have concerns about the elementary mercury that is used to make them. And, amalgam fillings can sometimes cause a discoloration of the gum tissue around the tooth with the filling in it.
Another disadvantage of white over metallic fillings is that they conduct heat and cold, which means your teeth may be extra sensitive with these types of fillings.
Another advantage of white fillings is that they require no special care! When you get white fillings, you can eat and drink as you normally would as soon as your appointment is over. You may notice some sensitivity to cold and when you bite down for a few weeks after you get your filling.
You take care of white fillings just as you take care of the rest of your teeth. Brush twice a day; floss once a day; and make sure you visit Dr. Ali twice a year for your cleanings and exams!
As with any other dental procedure, the cost of white fillings varies. Dr. Ali and his team at Avatar Dental Care would be happy to discuss the costs with you. Avatar Dental also takes many different types of insurance. If you think you might need work done on your teeth, give Avatar Dental a call! The number is (571) 577-8457.