Tooth-colored fillings, also known as composite resin fillings or simply composite fillings, are a type of dental filling material used to repair teeth that have been damaged by decay or trauma. Unlike traditional silver or amalgam fillings, which are visible and can darken over time, tooth-colored fillings are designed to blend in with the natural color of your teeth, making them virtually invisible.
Why might you need it.
You may need tooth-colored fillings if you have a cavity, which is a hole in your tooth caused by tooth decay. Tooth decay occurs when bacteria in your mouth produce acids that break down the outer layer of your tooth (enamel) and penetrate the inner layers, causing damage to the tooth structure.
If left untreated, cavities can become larger and deeper, eventually reaching the inner part of your tooth (dentine) and potentially causing toothache, infection, and even tooth loss. Tooth-colored fillings are used to repair the damage caused by cavities and prevent further decay or damage to your teeth.
In addition to treating cavities, tooth-colored fillings can also be used to repair minor chips, cracks, or fractures in your teeth. They can also be used to improve the appearance of discolored or misshapen teeth, or to replace old, worn-out fillings that are no longer effective.
The procedure for getting tooth-colored fillings typically involves the following steps:
- Numbing the area: Before the procedure begins, your dentist will numb the area around the affected tooth using a local anesthetic. This will ensure that you don’t feel any pain or discomfort during the procedure.
- Removing the decay: Once the area is numb, your dentist will use a drill or laser to remove the decayed portion of your tooth. They will also clean the area to remove any remaining bacteria or debris.
- Preparing the filling material: Your dentist will then select the appropriate shade of composite resin material to match the color of your natural teeth. They will mix the resin with a bonding agent and place it in layers into the cavity, shaping and sculpting it to fit the contours of your tooth.
- Curing the material: Once the filling material is in place, your dentist will use a special light to harden and cure the resin. This process usually takes only a few seconds.
- Polishing the filling: After the filling material has cured, your dentist will use a dental instrument to trim and shape the filling. They will also polish it to a smooth finish, making it blend in seamlessly with your natural teeth.
Overall, the procedure for getting tooth-colored fillings is relatively quick and straightforward, and most patients experience little to no discomfort. However, if you have any concerns or questions about the procedure, be sure to discuss them with your dentist beforehand.