Tooth-colored fillings are one of the exciting recent developments in cosmetic dentistry, allowing us to restore your teeth with attractive, functional fillings that have no toxic mercury in them. Unlike metal amalgam fillings, these fillings won’t turn black, but will they stay tooth-colored? That’s a little more complicated question.
Two Types of Tooth-Colored Fillings
First, it’s important to note that tooth-colored fillings come in two main categories. First, there are composite fillings, which are made of primarily plastic material that has either ceramic or glass inclusions to improve strength. These start out as a putty, then are shaped into the prepared teeth before being cured using a special light.
The second kind is a ceramic filling that is made of primarily ceramic, either in a lab or in our office using our CEREC system. This filling is then bonded to your teeth.
Staining of Tooth-Colored Fillings
Like your natural teeth, tooth-colored fillings are potentially susceptible to staining by certain foods and beverages. How much staining occurs depends on what types of foods and beverages you consume. Studies of resin composite fillings showed that different beverages resulted in different levels of staining. Here are the beverages tested, from least staining to most staining:
- Cherry juice
- Red wine
In early studies, exposure to red wine resulted in unacceptable levels of staining, but more recent studies show that improvements in the material resulted in less staining.
Ceramic fillings, on the other hand, are very resistant to staining. They are more likely to retain their original color despite exposure to staining foods and beverages.
Teeth Whitening and Tooth-Colored Fillings
Although tooth-colored fillings can stain like natural teeth, they don’t respond to teeth whitening treatments the same way that natural teeth do. As a result, they may gradually become more discolored than your natural teeth. Although this is nowhere near as bad as the silver and then black of metal amalgam fillings, people who want the best possible cosmetic results might opt for ceramic fillings in the most visible parts of their smile.
If you would like to learn more about cosmetic dentistry procedures like tooth-colored fillings, please call (610) 272-0828 for an appointment with a cosmetic dentist at Dental Excellence of Blue Bell.