Esthetic dentistry can provide a middle ground between the health-focused care of general dentistry and the appearance-focused improvements of cosmetic dentistry. While the closely related field of cosmetic dentistry can be a good option for making visible or dramatic changes, an esthetic approach may be recommended for patients who primarily want to maintain a healthy…
Esthetic Dentistry and Tooth-Colored Fillings
There are several different procedures included in the field of esthetic dentistry, and one that can improve the appearance of the smile is tooth-colored fillings. Patients who currently have metal fillings may feel that the color and shape negatively affect the appearance of the teeth and desire a change. Understanding how these fillings differ from traditional styles, as well as the benefits of this type of procedure, can help patients feel more comfortable and informed before making a final decision concerning new or replacement fillings.
What are tooth fillings?
When dentists discover cavities in patients' teeth, the usual solution is to fill them in with material that protects the vulnerable teeth from further damage such as breaking or cracking. Older fillings are made from amalgam metal that typically include a variety of materials, including:
The amalgam is usually a silver metallic color, which stands out from the surrounding teeth and may make some patients feel hesitant to smile or laugh due to the fillings. However, esthetic dentistry offers tooth-colored fillings, which makes the repairs appear more natural and less noticeable, increasing patients' confidence and improving the overall beauty of a smile.
How are tooth-colored fillings different?
Tooth-colored fillings, sometimes called esthetic fillings, differ from the traditional style in a number of ways. These fillings, which are made of either porcelain or composite resin depending on patient choice, provide a more natural look when used to support teeth damaged by cavities. Composite resin is especially useful, as it can be molded and manipulated to better match not only the shape of the cavity but the overall tooth itself, making the filling nearly invisible.
Tooth-colored fillings also differ from the traditional amalgams in that the material usually forms a stronger and more consistent bond with the cavity it protects, which means these fillings are likely to last longer. There are a number of other benefits that come with choosing this type of esthetic dentistry, depending on the needs of the patient.
Patients who suffer from mild allergies to the materials found in traditional fillings may experience discomfort such as itching or even mild swelling. These individuals could greatly benefit from tooth-colored fillings, as the porcelain and composite resin are not likely to cause any allergic reactions.
A natural-appearing smile
Esthetic fillings are shaded and formed to the teeth that require repair and support. Once the material is bonded to the tooth, it creates a natural appearance, and the fillings are usually not noticeable when compared to amalgam fillings.
Decreased dental tissue loss
In some cases, healthy dental tissue must be removed to fit a traditional filling, as the amalgam is not as malleable as composite resin. With esthetic fillings, dentists can better fit a filling without having to sacrifice any healthy tooth surface.
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Patients who choose esthetic dentistry for new fillings may not only feel more confident about their appearance but can also avoid allergy issues and further tooth loss. These and other benefits can help dental patients gain a healthy, winning smile for a lifetime.
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Restorative or esthetic dentistry is not the same as cosmetic dentistry. This field of dentistry brings back the normal structures of gums and teeth. It also aims to return the function of these mouth parts. It focuses on providing comfort, health, and durability to patients. It can help patients look, feel, and function better. Here…