Tooth Coloured Fillings
No matter how well you brush your teeth, there are areas of your mouth that regular brushing can’t reach and where plaque will inevitably collect. Unchecked, these accumulations of plaque can lead to tooth decay and cavities. This is why it’s a good idea to maintain regular check-ups with your dentist and make appointments with the hygienist twice a year.
A cavity is formed when plaque acid eats through the enamel layer of the tooth forming a hole. These can be painless and you may be unaware of them if they are in a less visible part of the mouth. Once formed, cavities need to be filled by a dentist to stop the spread of decay.
Typically, dental fillings are formed from a mixture of metals called amalgam. These have a prominent metallic appearance and, depending on their location in the mouth, can be quite visible in everyday social situations. Many patients find this unappealing and opt instead for tooth-coloured fillings made of composite.
Composite resin fillings are made to blend in with your teeth’s natural shade and can be used for front or back teeth. They are more expensive than amalgam fillings but provide a much more natural look and are particularly well suited to teeth that exert moderate pressure during chewing. Composite is not quite as robust as amalgam and may need to be replaced over a slightly shorter timescale, but for many patients the aesthetic benefit makes them a more suitable choice.
Composite fillings are a little more time consuming to place than amalgam as the tooth needs to be kept clean and dry during the application of the resin. Fillings are typically performed under local anaesthetic, numbing the area around the tooth while our principal dentist Oberah removes the decayed portion. The tooth is then etched with an acidic gel before the resin is applied and hardened using an LED light. Oberah will then polish the surface of the tooth to blend in the filling and give a natural looking finish.
You can expect your composite filling to last between five and seven years, although its longevity will be affected by the location of the tooth it is placed in and the pressures exerted on it during chewing.