If you have a tooth that has tooth decay or a broken area, a dental filling can be used to repair the tooth. For many years, the main type of filling material used to fill teeth was a metal-based filling material called amalgam. As dental techniques and technology have improved, tooth colored filling materials have become available. Dr. Hosaka mainly uses tooth colored fillings at Hosaka Family Dental.
The most obvious advantage of tooth colored fillings is that they can be placed to look great, just like your natural tooth. Tooth colored filling material is available in many different tooth shades. Prior to starting the filling procedure, Dr. Hosaka will use a tooth shade guide to determine your tooth color and select the shade of filling material that best matches the tooth in need of repair. Sometimes, he will select several different shades to use in the same tooth to match the natural variation in color that teeth can have.
After selecting the correct filling shade, the tooth needs to be shaped and the filling needs to be placed with great care and skill in order to achieve the optimal cosmetic results. The filling material needs to be shaped correctly and blended carefully with the natural tooth to achieve a seamless result. Dr. Hosaka has trained extensively during his dental education as well as throughout his career to improve his technique in placing tooth colored fillings.
Another reason Dr. Hosaka prefers to use tooth colored fillings, is that they allow him to be minimally invasive compared to metal fillings. There is usually less drilling on the tooth involved when placing tooth colored fillings, compared to metal fillings. Tooth colored fillings are also commonly called “bondings.” When the tooth colored filling is placed, different agents are placed on the tooth to allow the filling to bond, or join the tooth. Because of this special property, tooth colored filling can be placed and shaped in a way to minimize drilling of the tooth. A metal filling does not bond to the tooth. Instead, it is packed into a hole or recess in the tooth. It just sits in the tooth. Because of this, the tooth has to be drilled and shaped in a certain way, at the expense of healthy tooth material, before a metal filling can be placed. Metal fillings placed in teeth tend to be larger in area compared to tooth colored fillings.
Both tooth colored fillings and metal fillings can last a long time if properly cared for. However, metal fillings can stain the tooth a greyish color over time. Since the metal filling is a dark grey color to begin with, teeth with metal fillings, especially teeth that show when smiling, can look discolored and dark. Tooth colored filling can allow the tooth to keep its natural white color.
Most metal fillings placed today contain mercury, tin, silver, and copper. Although the Food and Drug Administration has deemed metal fillings to be safe, some people prefer not to have any metal components inside their mouth.
If you would like to know more about tooth fillings, please contact us today.