What Are All of the Benefits of Tooth-Colored Fillings?
Want to learn more about dental fillings?
You’re at your pediatric dentist near Omaha when you get the unwanted news—your child has a cavity. You may have a million questions, including whether you should get silver or white fillings. Before making that decision, it’s best to learn more about dental fillings, starting with the benefits of tooth-colored fillings.
When does a child’s tooth need to be filled?
One of the most important things to understand about tooth decay is that it will continue spreading. When a decayed baby tooth isn’t loose or extracted, it can cause decay on neighboring teeth. If these adjacent teeth are adult teeth, your dentist may fill the baby tooth.
It may seem strange to treat a temporary tooth, but whatever happens to a baby tooth can spread to another tooth and affect the gums.
What happens when cavities are left untreated?
It’s always best to follow the advice of a trained dentist, but choosing to fill a cavity or not is always the parent’s choice. However, not treating a cavity leaves your child susceptible to discomfort.
Your child may experience the following:
- Increased sensitivity to hot or cold foods and beverages
- A future need for a root canal or extraction
Treating tooth decay as soon as it emerges lessens the chance of needing a more involved and costly procedure.
Silver vs. White Fillings
Silver and white fillings are similar in various ways and suitable to restore most cavities. Factors that many dentists compare are their strength, placement, and cost.
Silver fillings are stronger than white fillings, but both can withstand chewing, biting, and normal wear and tear. Metal fillings are generally more cost-effective than white fillings, but both are affordable treatment options. White fillings are more aesthetically pleasing, making them ideal for the front teeth, but there are more benefits than that.
Benefits of Tooth-Colored Fillings
Tooth-colored fillings are a suitable choice for pediatric patients for several reasons.
1. Mercury-Free Materials
Tooth-colored fillings are made from a non-toxic combination of plastic and glass, making them mercury-free. White fillings are non-toxic and contain no metal, meaning they won’t cause any allergic reactions. Silver amalgam fillings contain mercury, silver, tin, copper, and zinc.
2. Less Hot-Cold Sensitivity
Metal fillings are more sensitive to thermal stresses, which makes them expand and contract when exposed to changing temperatures. These changes can cause the enamel to become weak, leading to toothaches and broken teeth.
With a tooth-colored filling, the natural tooth structure is less likely to fracture or be affected by temperature changes because of the insulating properties of white filling materials.
3. A Quick Procedure
Having a white filling placed is a simple and quick procedure. It can take less than an hour to complete one or two fillings.
4. More Natural Tooth Structure Left Intact
Placing white fillings requires removing less natural tooth structure than placing silver fillings. The tooth-colored material bonds to the tooth, so the dentist only prepares a small hole. With a silver filling, your child’s dentist will need to drill a more significant hole to ensure the filling remains in place.
With a proper oral care routine and regular checkups, white fillings can last up to 20 years. This includes brushing twice a day and flossing. Teaching your child to avoid bad dental habits, like chewing on pen caps or ice, will help the filling stay intact. Chewing habits can chip or dislodge the restoration.
6. Improved Appearance
Of all the benefits of tooth colored-fillings, many patients love their natural appearance the most.
A white filling can flawlessly blend with your child’s natural tooth. Modern materials look so much like a natural tooth that your friends and family may never notice there was a cavity there! Instead, your little ones will speak, laugh, and eat just as they did before.
What to Expect During Treatment
Using a white filling to treat your child’s cavity is relatively simple. After administering a local anesthetic to numb the area, the dentist will prepare the tooth by removing existing decay. A bonding system is used to adhere the filling material to the tooth. White filling material comes in various shades to match the different colors of teeth.
The tooth-colored filling material gets placed inside the tooth and is shaped to resemble its natural appearance. A special light hardens the materials, and the dentist will remove any bumpy spots, leaving behind a smooth, tooth-colored restoration.
Your child’s mouth will return to normal within a few hours of leaving the dental office, and the filling will look so natural, they might not be able to find it!
Are tooth-colored fillings suitable for your child?
There are many benefits of tooth-colored fillings, and they are an excellent choice for treating childhood tooth decay. Your pediatric dentist can determine whether they are right for your child.
If you have any questions about your child’s oral health or need a skilled pediatric dentist near Omaha, you can trust the caring team at Omaha Pediatric Dental Specialists to provide your child with a comfortable, high-quality treatment experience from infancy to adolescence. Call us to schedule an appointment today.