Amalgam fillings have restored decayed teeth literally for generations. This dark blend of various metals lasts for years, but frankly, it's not attractive, especially on teeth near the front of the mouth. At Michael E. Huguet DDS & Associates, your Pleasant Hill, CA, team of family dentists uses tooth-colored fillings whenever possible. Just as durable as your natural tooth structure, these lifelike restorations deliver numerous benefits to you, our valued patient.
What is a tooth-colored filling?
A dental filling repairs the form and function of a tooth which has a cavity, or decay caused by bacteria contained in plaque and tartar. Recent innovations in dental technology give your Pleasant Hill family dentist a variety of options in restorative materials.
Choice of amalgam, or metal, fillings versus tooth-colored fillings made from composite resin, porcelain or glass ionomer depends largely on the size of the cavity, its location in the mouth, and how much biting force the particular tooth receives. Dear Doctor magazine calls modern restorative dentistry the "post-amalgam" era because white fillings are so advanced in durability and versatility. Our dentists choose these filling materials whenever possible so patients enjoy a beautiful, healthy smile that truly mimics what Nature gave them.
Benefits of tooth-colored fillings
Beside natural appearance, strength and realistic aesthetics, tooth-colored fillings requirr less enamel preparation than their amalgam counterparts. With metal fillings, your Pleasant Hill family dentist must create extensive undercuts in the enamel to hold the filling in place. However, with composite resin (a mix of glass and acrylic), porcelain inlays and onlays (partial crowns), and glass ionomer (a fluoride and glass combination), the doctor bonds the material directly to the tooth. This eliminates the need for undercuts.
In the case of composite resin, for example, our dentist layers the material into the prepared site. He hardens each layer with a curing light, building up the restoration to its correct shape and size. Dentists call this method an "additive process," and it ensures a good bond between the resin and the tooth.
In addition, today's restorations place less stress on natural enamel than amalgam does. That's because tooth-colored materials actually flex and give with the pressures of biting and chewing.
Finally, tooth-colored fillings last ten years or more with routine brushing and flossing at home and in-office check-ups and cleanings. Of course, please avoid chewing hard foods, such as peanut brittle or ice, and wear a bite guard if you grind your teeth.
While tooth decay is sometimes unavoidable, today's inventive materials can enliven, beautify, and strengthen damaged smiles. Is it time for your six-month check-up at Michael E. Huguet DDS & Associates? Then, call the office today for an appointment at (925) 945-6204.