Fillings are used for multiple reasons but the main purpose is to replace or reinforce tooth structure. Teeth that are decaying must be treated to arrest the decay and restore the functionality of the tooth. Teeth that have been broken, cracked or discolored can also be treated with tooth-colored fillings to retain their functionality and beauty. Modern dentistry has turned to composite resin as their filling of choice for many reasons. In the past, amalgams of silver and mercury were used, which darken with time and required a lot of drilling. Composite fillings are made of glass particles in a plastic matrix that is bonded to the tooth with a high-intensity light. In the case of tooth decay, the decay is drilled away. The space required to hold a composite resin filling is smaller than that of an amalgam filling. If the decay is close to the pulp (center) of the tooth, a liner may be placed over the root to act as a barrier that protects the root and decreases sensitivity. A special material is then applied to the tooth to “open the pores” of the tooth and roughen-up the dentin. Bonding resin is applied to “glue” the resin in place and the composite resin is used to fill the cavity. It is hardened into place with a high-intensity light. All of this can be accomplished in less than an hour and will last many years to come.
The price of fillings is dependent upon how many surfaces of a tooth require restoration, as well as the location of the tooth in the mouth. Fillings cost from $150 to $350. Cavities that are detected early can be repaired with tooth-colored fillings. Cavities that get bigger usually need more extensive treatments, such as root canals and crowns, which do cost more. As the cavity gets bigger, the risk of losing the tooth gets bigger as well. Visiting the dentist twice a year will ensure that cavities are detected and treated before becoming bigger problems.
Before and after pictures
Composite(tooth colored) fillings are a better alternative than the old silver (mercury) fillings. These bio-compatable fillings are chemically bonded to the tooth and actually increase the strength of the tooth. They are virtually indistinguishable from the natural tooth and provide a healthy looking smile.