Unless you have superhuman dental powers, you’re likely to experience a cavity at some point in your life. Although cavities can occur for a number of reasons—from genetic predisposition to improper dental care—it’s always in your best interest to get the affected teeth restored to their former health and beauty. And when aesthetics matter, composite resin fillings, also called tooth-colored fillings, are the perfect option.
Tooth-colored fillings are made from composite resin, a mixture of glass and plastic that mimics the color and texture of natural teeth. Composite resin is used for a number of dental procedures, including both restorative and cosmetic treatments.
When you have a cavity, your dentist will use these tooth-colored fillings to fill the empty holes in the teeth to prevent further decay. To do this, your dentist will deposit the resin in layers, hardening (or “curing”) each layer with a special light. Once filled, your dentist shapes and polishes the filling in order to prevent staining or premature wear down the road.
Why Get Tooth-Colored Fillings?
Composite resin fillings have many advantages. Although usually slightly more expensive than a traditional silver filling, tooth-colored fillings are virtually invisible one placed in the mouth. Plus, getting your composite resin fillings is a quick procedure that your dentist can perform in the office. Your dentist will usually use local anesthetic to numb your mouth before completing the restorative work. Once your fillings are completed, you’ll be able to eat and chew as normal (once the anesthesia has worn off).
While the aesthetic benefits of tooth-colored fillings are compelling for most dental patients, there are a few disadvantages to composite resin. Tooth-colored fillings tend to wear out faster than silver fillings, and may need to be replaced after several years. Additionally, it is possible to stain or discolor composite resin, so you’ll want to use caution when drinking certain beverages, like coffee, tea, wine and soda.