A dental filling is used to replace missing tooth structure caused by tooth decay, misshaped or fractured tooth structure. Fillings restore function and aesthetics as well as help in prevention of further tooth decay. Materials used for fillings include: amalgam alloys (contain mercury, silver, copper, tin and sometimes zinc), gold, porcelain or composite bonded resin (tooth colored).
During routine dental exams dentists determine the need for dental fillings through physical examination as well as through dental X-rays. Dental fillings are meant to restore small to medium sized areas of damaged teeth. The type of treatment is determined by the extent of damage to tooth structure.
Dental bonding of resin material is a popular choice with many aesthetic and functional strength advantages. The process involves the use of sophisticated adhesives and a high intensity curing light that polymerizes or bonds resins to enamel and dentin tooth structure. This procedure is for cosmetic purposes that improves the appearance of discolored or chipped teeth.
Common reasons for discolored teeth:
- Stain from food or drink
- Lack of proper tooth care and regular checkups
- Tobacco use
- Intrinsic developmental stains
- Some medications
The longevity of dental bonding is subject to proper hygiene care and routine dental checkups. Good bonding procedures may last up to 10 years.