More commonly called dental fillings, a dental restoration is when a special material is used to “fill in” where a tooth has decayed, cracked or been severely chipped. It allows the restoration of 100 percent functionality and integrity of the tooth. Fillings are often required following cavity removal or tooth trauma. They can help with aesthetics, proper chewing and to avoid future cavities, since it fills a void in the mouth that’s a prime spot for collecting food scraps and bacteria.
During the prep stage, the tooth usually has to be further cut and shaped with dental burrs—this is also when any lingering decay or unsound tooth remnants are removed. Now it’s time for the fun part: Choosing the material for your filling. Many of our Beaumont, Texas patients opt for a tooth-colored composite filling if it will be seen, or a most cost-effective amalgam filling for back teeth. With your dentist, you’ll go over the options.
Designing Your Smile with Dental Restorations
Precious metal and alloys like gold, gold alloys, gold-platinum alloys and silver palladium alloys used to be the only option in traditional dentistry. There was also cobalt-chrome and nickel-chrome. While these metal alloys were (and still are) safe and effective, they don’t necessarily look all that great for teeth that can be seen when talking, smiling or eating—unless you’re going for a blinged out grill. Silver amalgam then became the mainstay, made up partially of mercury, silver, tin and copper. It was very durable and affordable (plus, even with the mercury it was safe to swallow if it fell out), but it still had aesthetics issues. For those on a budget, opting for a metallic filling for back molars that will rarely be seen is a good idea.
But what if you need a filling that looks just like your “real teeth?” That’s where tooth-colored fillings come into play. They’re also called “white fillings” and applied to your tooth via a special technique that used light to harden the substance. Composites fillings are the go-to option of choice for most dentists including World of Smiles.