Tooth-colored fillings—also called composite or white fillings—can provide a great alternative to the metal amalgam fillings that were historically used to treat cavities. Not only do composites look more natural, but there is also evidence that they may be better for your health. Cosmetic dentist Dean Lodding, DDS and our team here at Smile For Life Dental strive to provide the most effective treatments using the highest-quality materials, and we are proud to offer metal-free composite fillings for our patients.
- What Are Composite Fillings?
- Amalgam Vs. Composite Fillings
- Composite Fillings Results
- Composite Fillings Cost
What are Composite Fillings?
Tooth-colored fillings can effectively address cavities and enamel fractures by reinforcing tooth structures that have been damaged or weakened by decay. As the name might suggest, this treatment effectively “fills” the holes or cracks left behind once decay is removed, preserving the tooth structure and preventing the need for a root canal or tooth extraction. Composite fillings are made of a durable composite resin that can be customized to match the natural shade of your teeth. This allows for a more discreet dental result, with the treated tooth or teeth remaining nearly indistinguishable from the surrounding ones.
What is the Difference Between Amalgam and Composite Fillings?
The greatest distinction between composite fillings and amalgam fillings is in their appearance. Amalgam fillings are made of metal materials, while composite fillings are made of a composite resin that is designed to match the natural color of teeth. Many patients who have received amalgam fillings in the past note that they can make the treated tooth look gray, which can be aesthetically disruptive—especially when the filling is on the front teeth. Plus, amalgam fillings often contain small amounts of mercury, which can potentially prove harmful to the human body over time.
Another benefit of tooth-colored fillings is that they require less of the tooth structure to be removed prior to placement, making them a more conservative treatment option. They also have a reduced susceptibility to temperature changes. Amalgam fillings have been shown to expand and contract in response to heat and cold, which can lead to an increased risk of tooth fractures. Tooth-colored fillings, by contrast, bond more strongly with the teeth, making them significantly less susceptible to sensitivity and preventing them from coming loose or falling out.
How Long Do Composite Fillings Last?
Generally, tooth-colored fillings are considered a durable and long-lasting solution to tooth decay and cavities. They typically last for about five to seven years at a minimum, with some patients reporting that their composite fillings have lasted for ten years or longer. Good oral hygiene and regular professional dental cleanings can help extend the lifespan of your fillings and prevent new decay from developing.
How Much Do Composite Fillings Cost?
The average cost of composite fillings in Illinois ranges between $100 and $450 per tooth, depending on the size of the filling and number of tooth surfaces affected. Fortunately, tooth-colored fillings are often eligible for full or partial coverage through many dental insurance plans. Our team would be happy to help you check with your provider to make sure you are taking full advantage of your benefits. For patients who may need additional assistance, we also offer financing options through CareCredit® and ALPHAEON® CREDIT. These trusted third-party lenders offer low- and no-interest loans for qualified applicants.
If you want to learn more about tooth-colored fillings, contact our practice today. We are happy to answer your questions or help you schedule a consultation with one of our dentists.