During your evaluation by one of our top-rated cosmetic dentists at Galleria Dental Aesthetics, we determine the best ways to restore your teeth. While our recommendations are always personalized for your best results, there are several reasons why you should choose only tooth-colored fillings, and why we do not offer metal or silver/mercury fillings.
Call (703) 448-1020 today to schedule your tooth-colored fillings consult in our McLean office or our Arlington office.
WHAT ARE TOOTH-COLORED FILLINGS?
Tooth-colored fillings, also called white fillings, are made of a composite resin that can be color-matched to your existing teeth. Rather than having an unsightly silver/mercury patch in your teeth, the composite resin is nearly invisible as it fills the decayed portion of the tooth. As this procedure has become more and more popular, many patients elect to have their old silver/mercury fillings removed and replaced with tooth-colored fillings. The result is a more beautiful, natural-looking smile.
BENEFITS OF TOOTH-COLORED FILLINGS
Beyond the aesthetic reasons for tooth-colored fillings, there are other benefits including:
- Composite resin does not expand and contract when exposed to variations in temperature like silver/mercury fillings can. Over time, this expansion and contraction can cause small openings to form, allowing harmful bacteria to enter and cause further damage.
- Less tooth structure must be removed for composite resin to fill a tooth cavity as opposed to a silver/mercury filling.
- Tooth-colored fillings are bonded to the tooth, helping to restore strength and preserve your natural tooth.
Like your natural teeth, it is possible for the composite resin to stain over time. However, when compared to the appearance of silver/mercury fillings, most patients still choose tooth-colored fillings today.
Not all cosmetic dentists are trained to offer alternatives to silver/mercury fillings. Our team is happy to provide this service and can be performed in one visit in most cases. For more information, see questions about white fillings.
WHO IS A CANDIDATE FOR A TOOTH-COLORED FILLING?
Anyone is a candidate for a tooth-colored filling at Galleria Dental Associates. In fact, as a metal-free practice, they are the only fillings we place.
Drs. Lee and Dr. Oh use composite resin for both new fillings and for the replacement of old silver amalgam fillings. Of course, if you come see us for your regular twice-yearly cleaning and exam and we discover you have a tooth with decay, you won’t have planned to have a filling placed but that’s what we will need to do.
Also, we have many patients who either want to replace old amalgam fillings for aesthetic reasons or they need to replace them as the filling or fillings are reaching their lifespan. Many of our patients from across eastern Virginia no longer like the idea of having mercury in their teeth, and they’d rather have composite resin.
There are no restrictions for whether a person can have composite fillings placed.
HOW IS A TOOTH-COLORED FILLING PLACED?
Once we remove the decay from a tooth, we thoroughly clean and disinfect the area. The composite resin is then placed layer by layer. Every layer is hardened with the use of a curing light, and then the next layer is applied. As we work, our dentists sculpt the resin to conform to the natural shape of the tooth. When satisfied with the appearance, the final layer is hardened, and the tooth is polished. Now your tooth is free of decay, healthy, and has an invisible restoration.
WILL I HAVE RECOVERY AFTER HAVING A TOOTH-COLORED FILLING PLACED?
No. Once Dr. Lee or Dr. Oh places your new filling, you can use the tooth immediately. You won’t have any recovery, and you can get right back to your normal activities.
HOW LONG DO COMPOSITE FILLINGS LAST?
Composite resin was first introduced for fillings in the 1960s. The problem with composite was that the early forms tended to break down more quickly than amalgam, so they weren’t as durable. But in the 1990s and 2000s, resin was mixed with glass ionomer, which greatly increased the strength and durability of composite resin fillings. Thanks to these technological advances, the strength and durability of composite resin fillings are roughly equivalent to that of silver amalgam. The average lifespan for these fillings (and for amalgam) is about 12 years. This lifespan can be far longer; it depends on the patient.
WILL MY DENTAL INSURANCE COVER THE PLACEMENT OF COMPOSITE RESIN FILLINGS?
Yes, dental insurance covers tooth-colored fillings just as it does silver amalgam.
QUALITY OF TOOTH-COLORED FILLINGS
The materials we use to make white fillings are far superior to those used in the past. Composite resin is stable when exposed to heat or cold, and bonds securely to the tooth, making it an ideal filling material that actually strengthens your tooth. It can be used for both front and back teeth. And where one of your fillings may need even stronger restoration for larger or cusp areas, we offer porcelain inlays and onlays.
HOW ACCURATE IS THE COLOR MATCH OF A TOOTH-COLORED FILLING?
When we are placing a composite resin filling, our Galleria dentists use a shade guide to accurately match the color of your adjacent teeth and to the remainder of the tooth being filled. These color matches are very true. You’ll be hard pressed to see the filling in your own tooth. Others won’t see it at all.
Contrast this with the appearance of a silver amalgam filling. That silver spot on your tooth is there for everyone to see every time you open your mouth.
IS GETTING A TOOTH-COLORED FILLING PAINFUL?
Receiving a tooth-colored filling is not painful at all. The local anesthesia we use ensures you won’t feeling anything during the process. And you shouldn’t have any pain afterwards when the anesthesia wears off. If there is any aching, usually due to having your mouth open for a period, over-the-counter pain relievers easily take care of it.
COSMETIC ADVANTAGES OF TOOTH-COLORED FILLINGS
People cannot mistake the signs of oral disease when you laugh or smile flashing a blotchy metal filling at them. But they can mistake a tooth-colored filling for a healthy mouth that you have cared for. Although both types of fillings correct the health issue, only one draws attention to itself. Tooth-colored fillings are essentially invisible. People will see your attractive smile, and none of the dental work you have had done.
"We've had broken teeth, fillings, cleanings, crowns, cosmetics, you name it... all outstanding! Not only is the work superb but the attitudes, responsiveness, overall professionalism is all over the top. We're in our 60's and have lived all over the U.S. and the world and can say unequivocally... it doesn't get any better. Thanks You Dr. Lee and Staff!!" - John S.
ADVANCED TRAINING AND TECHNOLOGY
Dr. Chong Lee and Dr. Joseph Oh are committed to providing you with the highest quality cosmetic and therapeutic dental care. At Galleria Dental Aesthetics you will benefit from our advanced training through Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies (LVI), whose well-earned prestige in the art of advanced dentistry offers evidence of our commitment. LVI teaches its practitioners about exciting and effective alternatives to out-dated dental procedures.
Dr. Chong Lee’s position as clinical instructor for LVI assures you of our successful achievements in these advanced techniques and most especially, our high standards of practice and talent in the areas of cosmetic and neuromuscular dentistry. So, when we recommend that you choose tooth-colored fillings you can be sure that we have evaluated every other option and are recommending the best for you.
PRESERVING AND PROTECTING YOUR TEETH
As part of our commitment to quality, we can help you preserve more of your natural tooth because tooth-colored fillings allow us to remove the least amount of tooth structure to prepare it for the filling. Should you need future restoration work on those teeth, tooth-colored fillings may very well make the difference between saving your tooth and replacing it.
CALL GALLERIA DENTAL AESTHETICS FOR TOOTH-COLORED FILLINGS!
If you live in McLean or Arlington, VA and would like to learn more about tooth-colored or porcelain fillings, please contact our cosmetic dentistry team at Galleria Dental Aesthetics. Call 703.448.1020 for an initial white fillings consultation and to see if you are a candidate for this procedure.