In the past decade, dental technology has progressed at an astonishing rate, particularly cosmetic dentistry. Procedures that were unheard of several years ago are now becoming commonplace. Today’s cosmetic dental procedures give patients the ability to improve the appearance of their smile without having to endure prolonged or painful dental treatments. One dental process that has seen the most change is how dentists install fillings in teeth with cavities.
It used to be that metal fillings were the only option to save a tooth with a cavity. Many people who have had metal fillings in their mouths for decades are now having them break apart, causing a number of related health concerns. The metal can get into a person’s saliva and make them ill. A broken filling can also leave the tooth susceptible to infection and ultimately require removal.
Modern dental clinics offer their patients the opportunity to have their cavities filled with composite resin fillings. These fillings are clear or white in color and are designed in a dental lab to match the color of the patient’s natural teeth as closely as possible. The color and design of the resin fillings allows them to blend in to the rest of the patient’s teeth, making the fillings invisible to others.
In addition to an improved cosmetic appearance, resin dental fillings are also more comfortable for the patient to have in his or her mouth. With metal fillings, the patient can experience a painful sensation when cold or hot substances touch it. This does not happen with resin dental fillings because its ceramic ingredients do not interfere with food or liquid the way metal can.
Patients who have cavities on the biting surface of their teeth can now opt to have them covered with dental inlays or onlays made entirely of porcelain. These dental products blend in well with the rest of the teeth just as resin dental fillings do. If a patient does need one or more teeth replaced, dentists can now use crowns to cover the tooth instead of the patient having to wear dentures.