Last Updated on 4 months

Nobody likes cavities. 

And, cavities are incredibly common – according to the CDC, 90% of adults over 20 have had at least one cavity! 

But the good news is, modern dental treatments like tooth-colored fillings offer an easy, natural-looking way to treat decay.

Thankfully, today’s tooth-colored fillings provide excellent benefits over old metal amalgam fillings for restoring teeth. These natural-looking fillings bond tightly and match your tooth color for seamless results.

Tooth-colored fillings provide durable tooth decay treatment that blends right in. But, it’s better to consult a professional and certified dentist in Modesto, CA to learn more about restoring your smile with easy, aesthetic fillings.

In this blog, we are going to discuss some effective things that you must be aware of before reaching out to your dentist. Let’s take a look!

What Are Tooth-Colored Fillings

Modern dentistry offers various options for creating beautiful and natural-looking smiles. Researchers have developed materials like ceramic and plastic composites that mimic the appearance of real teeth. 

Many people now prefer white fillings, also called composite fillings, because they want their teeth to look natural when they smile or talk. These fillings blend well with the color of your teeth and don’t stand out like traditional silver fillings.

White fillings are used to restore decayed or previously filled teeth. The process usually takes just one dental visit. The dentist examines the tooth and applies the composite filling material to restore it. 

Unlike other dental treatments, composite fillings require less removal of healthy tooth structure because they can bond directly to the tooth. This bonding property makes them an excellent choice for dental restorations.

Types of Tooth-Colored Fillings

This section explores the different materials used for tooth-colored fillings and their unique benefits. With an overview of the types available, you can work with your dentist to select the right solution for an inconspicuous, natural-looking repair.

    • Composite Resin Fillings

These are made from plastic and resin materials. The dentist places the soft filling and then hardens it using a special curing light. Composite fillings are a popular choice because they can be color-matched to your natural tooth shade. This makes them virtually invisible compared to silver amalgam fillings.

But, composites don’t tend to last as long as some other filling types. They typically need to be replaced after 5-10 years with proper care. But for a seamless, natural repair, many patients gladly accept replacing them more frequently.

Hence, composite resin fillings offer excellent aesthetics to conceal repairs, especially on front teeth. Although Composite resin fillings are the most preferred type of tooth-colored fillings. But, it is always a good idea to ask your Modesto dentist if tooth-colored composite fillings are the right option for your cavity restoration.

    • Ceramic/Porcelain Fillings

Ceramic fillings are made from porcelain, making them both durable and natural-looking. While more expensive than composites, ceramic is extremely stain and abrasion resistant. The material matches the tooth color beautifully.

The main disadvantage is ceramics are more brittle than composites. They work best for larger cavities, since small areas may lead to breakage. The dentist may need to enlarge the space to accommodate the filling.

But, ceramic fillings offer superb aesthetics and longevity. Though costlier, they are an excellent option for very stain-prone front teeth or larger cavities in the smile line.

    • Glass Ionomer Fillings

These are made from a blend of glass particles and acrylic material. They often are used for children since they release fluoride to prevent more decay while teeth are still developing. 

As a result, their lifespan is limited as they will crack or wear over time. They are weaker than composites and not as natural looking.

The main advantage of glass ionomers is the protective fluoride release. This helps strengthen kids’ teeth that are still maturing. But for a durable, inconspicuous filling, composites or ceramics better serve adult cosmetic needs.

    • Silver Amalgam Fillings

It is a popular cavity-filling option containing silver, tin, zinc, copper, and mercury. It is sturdy, long-lasting, and less expensive than other filling types. Amalgams can last around 12 years with proper care. Dentists find it easy to work with as the material is malleable.

The main drawback is amalgam isn’t aesthetically pleasing, so it isn’t ideal for front teeth. It also expands and contracts with temperature changes, potentially causing cracks or gaps that allow in bacteria. 

When fluctuations occur between filling and tooth, food and bacteria can enter, causing new cavities to form. Despite mercury concerns, silver amalgam has been declared safe for use. If you need a filling in a visible area, ask your dentist about natural-looking tooth-colored options. 

    • Gold Fillings

These are very durable but not commonly used and multiple dentist visits are required. Pure gold is resistant to corrosion and can last over 20 years with proper care. 

However, gold is quite expensive and most dentists do not offer it as an option. While incredibly sturdy, gold fillings are not tooth-colored. 

Porcelain and resin-based composites allow for a much more natural, inconspicuous restoration. And newer materials provide excellent longevity if properly cared for. 

When Tooth-Colored Fillings Are Recommended?

Tooth-colored fillings provide a versatile restoration option suitable for a variety of situations. This section explores the most common cases where composite resin, ceramic, or other tooth-colored materials are the ideal choice. You’ll understand the advantages they offer for both function and smile aesthetics.

    • Small to Mid-Size Cavities

For small to moderately-sized cavities, tooth-colored composite resin fillings offer a discreet repair option. The related material is suitable for conservatively restoring decayed areas before they enlarge. 

Composites come in diverse shades to match the natural tooth color. They can mimic the actual appearance of enamel better than amalgam fillings. For minor to moderate cavities where preserving healthy tooth structure is preferable, composite resins provide an aesthetic, bonded solution. 

They allow fixing small issues before they worsen without sacrificing your smile. Even for cavities along the gum line or between teeth, well-matched composites will blend right in.

    • Front And Visible Teeth

When cavities occur in front teeth or other visible areas, Composite resin fillings are strongly recommended to preserve a natural smile. It comes in different opacities and shades to seamlessly match surrounding tooth color and texture. 

Ceramic fillings also resist staining better than amalgam in beverage-consuming areas near the front. The lifelike material blends perfectly with the surrounding smile. 

While more expensive than amalgam, composites or ceramics in anterior or visible spots are worthwhile investments to safeguard aesthetics. With uniquely matched color and translucency, you can repair cavities in your front teeth while still looking totally natural.

    • Chipped or Cracked Teeth

Chipped or cracked teeth can significantly impact your smile and oral health. For such cases, ceramic fillings, also known as porcelain fillings, and composite fillings are highly recommended. 

These custom-made restorations are created in a dental laboratory to perfectly fit your damaged tooth. Ceramic fillings and composite fillings offer superior aesthetics and durability, making them an excellent option for repairing chipped or cracked teeth in case of dental emergencies.

    • Teeth Bonding And Reshaping

For quick fixes like shaping slightly crooked or uneven teeth, composite fillings, along with silver amalgam fillings offer an affordable cosmetic solution. The malleable resin material can add volume and length to teeth, close minor gaps, and restore worn or uneven edges. 

Composite bonding creates perfectly contoured, symmetrical teeth by sculpting the resin into ideal shapes. The dentist matches the color and texture for natural-looking enhancements. 

The bonded material integrates seamlessly with the natural enamel for smooth, flawless-looking improvements. 

Compared to porcelain veneers, composite resins provide fast, non-invasive cosmetic tweaks.

How To Care For Tooth-Colored Fillings?

Tooth-colored fillings like composite resin and porcelain can beautifully restore teeth after cavities or other damage. But proper care is crucial for your fillings to last. Follow these tips to keep them intact for as long as possible.

    • Brushing, Flossing, Regular Dental Visits: Brush twice and floss once daily, taking extra care to clean around the filling. Food and plaque buildup can lead to decay under the filling’s edges. Regular dental checkups and teeth cleanings every 6 months allow your dentist to examine the fillings and spot any issues early.
    • Avoid Chewing Hard Items: Avoid chewing hard foods like ice, nuts, and hard candies, which could crack or dislodge the filling material. Sticky foods can also pull fillings loose over time.
    • Reporting Any Cracks or Damage: Check your fillings occasionally for cracks or damage. If you notice any, report it immediately to your dentist. Small issues can be repaired, avoiding more extensive redo work later.

With proper oral hygiene habits, dental visits, and care when eating, your tooth-colored fillings can last for many years, keeping your smile looking beautiful! Follow these simple precautions for optimum filling longevity.

Does it Hurt to Get a Filling?

If you have a cavity that requires a filling, you may worry about pain during the procedure. However, with modern techniques, getting a dental filling is usually not a painful experience. Here’s what you can expect:

    • Numbing: Your dentist will first apply a topical anesthetic to numb the area around the tooth, followed by an injection of a local anesthetic. The injections cause a brief pinching or burning sensation. 
    • Removing Decay: You’ll be numb during this step but may feel some vibration or pressure as your dentist uses a drill to remove the damaged tooth structure.
    • Placing the Filling: No pain should be felt as the filling is inserted and bonded into the prepared cavity. Some warmth and pressure are normal.
    • NumbnessWears Off: Once the anesthetic wears off over the next few hours, it’s common to have some sensitivity as the numbness dissipates. This usually resolves within a few days.
    • Aftercare: Over-the-counter pain medication like ibuprofen or some other that can relieve any mild tenderness or discomfort afterward.

While everyone’s pain tolerance varies, anesthesia ensures most people feel nothing more than slight pressure and vibration during the actual filling procedure. Let your dentist know if you experience any pain at your appointment. With proper numbing, getting a filling should not be a frightening or agonizing experience.

How Long Do Fillings Last?

If you’ve had a cavity filled, you may wonder how long the filling will last before needing replacement. Longevity depends on several factors.

    • Type of Filling Material:

      • Amalgam – silver fillings last 5-10 years.
      • Composite Resin – tooth-colored fillings last 5-7 years.
      • Porcelain/Ceramic – 10-15 years.
      • Silver Amalgam – 5 – 10 years.
      • Gold – over 20 years
    • Location in Mouth:

Fillings in molars or back teeth tend to be more durable. Front teeth fillings deteriorate faster.

    • Oral Hygiene:

Poor brushing/flossing habits lead to faster decay around the edges of fillings.

    • Eating Habits:

Chewing hard foods can crack fillings. Avoiding very hot/cold foods helps.

    • Jaw-Clenching/Grinding:

This puts extreme pressure on teeth and fillings. Using a mouthguard helps.

With proper oral hygiene and regular dental checkups, fillings could last many years before needing replacement. But it’s important to monitor their condition.

Tell your dentist if part of the filling chips off or if you notice any cracks. Well-maintained fillings help conserve your natural tooth structure.

Contact Your Cosmetic Dentistry Practice in Modesto, CA!

Now, you might be looking for the nearest cosmetic dentist in Modesto, CA that can provide the best tooth-colored fillings.

Contact ProSmile Family Dental today. We have the required experience and reviews to provide a range of services to give you the smile you’ve always wanted. 

From teeth whitening and reshaping to dental implants, veneers, and crowns, we offer treatments to enhance your teeth’s appearance and restore function. 

Our compassionate, skilled team pairs quality materials with meticulous artistry to create natural-looking, long-lasting results. We take time to understand your unique smile goals and concerns. And we’ll ensure you feel comfortable and informed every step of the way.

Let’s restore your smile. Call us today for an appointment at our Modesto, CA dental office. We’re committed to helping you look and feel your best through leading-edge cosmetic solutions.