It has been estimated that Americans make a total of 500 million visits to the dentist each year. While the most common purpose for these visits is to receive a regular teeth cleaning, dentists may also notice tooth decay – or cavities – while performing an exam before or after the cleaning. When a cavity is present, it will need to be removed and filled or the patient can risk further damage to their teeth and overall oral health.
Not too long ago, all fillings were metal. Although metal fillings were – and still are – effective to this day, they’re unsightly and can even be noticeable enough to potentially have a negative effect on one’s self esteem.
But those were the old days. Dental technology has advanced to the point where tooth colored bonding and fillings are now possible, thereby eliminating a lot of the visual concerns about having a cavity filled or a broken tooth patched up. Here is a look at exactly what each procedure consists of:
- Dental Bonding: Ideal when a tooth is chipped, cracked or discolored, bonding is a way to restore your smile without changing the complexion of the tooth. Bonding is often a drill-less process where a dentist adheres a tooth colored resin material to the tooth and then cures it with a special light so that it blends in with the rest of the tooth. When cared for properly, bonding can last for up to 5 years or more. The process is painless and can generally be performed in just one visit.
- Tooth Colored Fillings: Tooth colored fillings are just what they sound like – fillings that blend in with the color of your teeth. The process is similar to filling any cavity – the dentist first removes the area affected by tooth decay and then fills it with the tooth colored resin rather than a metal one.
Benefits of Dental Bonding
As we already noted, the biggest benefit of dental bonding is its efficiency in correcting chipped, cracked or discolored teeth in a fast and painless way. Some other benefits of the procedure include:
- Cost: Compared to alternative procedures such as teeth whitening and porcelain veneers, dental bonding is a relatively inexpensive procedure. Veneers and crowns, for instance, are customized porcelain products that need to be manufactured in a dental laboratory – thereby increasing the cost significantly.
- Speed: We already mentioned how fast the process is, but to be more specific, dental bonding can take less than 30 minutes per tooth.
- Painless: Unlike other similar procedures, bonding is painless. In fact, most of the time anesthesia isn’t required for most basic procedures. Anesthesia may be necessary, however, if bonding is also being used to fill a cavity at the same time.
- Applications: While bonding is most often associated with correcting chipped, stained or cracked teeth, it can also be used to treat gaps in between teeth, fill cavities, change the shape of teeth or even protect a tooth root that is exposed by receding gums.
Benefits of Tooth Colored Fillings
In reality, the process of receiving a tooth colored filling is not much different than a metal filling. However, there are a variety of physical, health and even psychological benefits that are associated with a tooth colored filling rather than a conventional metal one. Here is a look at these benefits:
- The biggest benefit of tooth colored fillings is in appearance. There is no metal being inserted into the mouth, therefore nothing that suggests – at a glance – that there was ever a cavity in the first place.
- The benefit of appearance translates to various Psychological benefits associated with tooth colored fillings. Many people are very self-conscious about fillings, which then impacts their behavior. For instance, people may be less willing to smile or laugh in public, as they may be afraid of showing off a mouth full of metal to onlookers. Yes, believe it or not, tooth colored fillings can do a lot for a person’s self-esteem.
- Health: There may also be a health benefit to tooth colored fillings. Did you know that most metal fillings (also called Amalgam fillings) contain Mercury? While amalgam fillings are safe when properly intact, when these fillings start to break down it has been hypothesized that they may release mercury, which can be dangerous to your health. Some forms of mercury have been linked to certain types of cancer, multiple sclerosis and various other health issues. Although it has not been proven whether failing dental restorations directly contribute to any of these conditions or not, many people agree that it is just not worth the risk to wait to find out either way.
- Process benefits: Finally, tooth colored fillings adhere better to the tooth than metal fillings do, thereby reducing the likelihood that patients will have to return to the dentist to have a filling replaced. Filling repair or replacement is common with metal fillings. The enhanced durability of tooth colored fillings means less inconvenient visits to the dentist.
Both dental bonding and tooth colored fillings are dental procedures that restore your smile beautifully. Those who undergo such treatments won’t have to worry about a mouth full of metal or having to hide their smiles to prevent any perceived unsightliness from occurring.
So don’t hide that smile of yours, restore it attractively. For more information on the process, ease and benefits of the dental bonding and tooth colored fillings, contact our office today. We will be happy to consult with you and get your smile back on the path to lighting up the room.