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Kids Choice Dental – Cosmetic Fillings

Children are often not the best caretakers of their teeth. Ravenous sweet tooth’s and sticky fingers often lead to fueling decay causing bacteria to flourish, which is hardly as bad as it sounds until it is paired with often dubious brushing and flossing habits, assuming they even have a flossing habit.  Even if they are very diligent about their dental hygiene accidents can happen that cause a tooth to crack or chip.

Traditionally cavities, cracks and chips were all treated with a direct filling of silver amalgam or a composite white filling.   Silver amalgam fillings had the other disadvantage of not matching the original tooth color but, they are more cost effective and long lasting. Composite white fillings do a better job of matching the color of the tooth, but they are a less durable material which makes it bad for any heavy duty chewing which is why most back teeth that are repaired with composite white get a metal crown over the filling to help add to its structure and longevity.

Inlays and onlays are a more modern form of filling which are also referred to as cosmetic filling, indirect filling or bonded filling. The process for making these fillings is a little more advanced and requires two visits to make and apply them.

The difference between inlays and inlays is if they are used to fill a hole or cavity in the tooth or to repair external chips, cracks and wear and tear. Inlays are those that fill the holes and onlays are those that go on the outside of the tooth and are the more well recognized form of “cosmetic” filling as they help restore and rebuild a perfect smile.

The materials used to make inlays and onlays vary depending on the needs of the tooth, but in general, front teeth onlays are made out of a porcelain like material that is hard, white, and fairly shiny to give the appearance of a healthy dazzling smile.  Back teeth which do much of the heavy lifting in the mouth get their inlays and onlays made out of a more resin based material which while not as aesthetically pleasing to look at, are convincingly white in the back of the mouth and durable enough to go through the punishment of chewing food for 30 years before needing to be repaired or replaced.

The procedure for installing cosmetic fillings involves going to the dentist for the first visit where the teeth will be cleaned and the tooth that is being repaired will have an impression taken of it. This impression will be used to shape the inlay or onlay to perfectly match the tooth of the patient. Cosmetic fillings are called indirect fillings because of this process of indirect molding to create the filling. Once made, the patient will be scheduled for a second visit where the cosmetic filling will be bonded to the tooth with a form of plastic cement.

If you have any questions or need to set up an appointment to have one of your kids’ cavities filled in, contact Kids Choice Dental right away!

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