Cosmetic dentistry is, as the name implies, a group of procedures designed to improve the look of your smile. As with all procedures, there are benefits and risks, and it is important to discuss each procedure, cost, and maintenance with our staff. You are responsible for consulting your insurance company regarding coverage of cosmetic procedures.
Up until the 1980s, silver amalgam fillings and gold composite fillings were the standard. While durable, they are not particularly cosmetically pleasing. Both of these types of fillings are still used, but the most popular filling option is the new composite filling.
A composite filling is comprised of resin, ceramic (porcelain), or glass ionomer. The cosmetic advantage to a composite filling is its appearance. The color of the composite filling is closely matched to the natural tooth color so that it is virtually invisible. Another benefit to composite fillings is that they are chemically bonded to the structure of the tooth for improved support of the tooth.
Composite fillings are also versatile because of the coloring and the bonding capability. The material can also be used to repair chipped teeth, broken teeth, or improve the appearance of worn teeth.
When decay is found during a dental examination, the dentist will use a numbing agent to ensure that there is no pain in the gums, teeth, tongue, or surrounding areas during the procedure. If the patient cannot relax, nitrous oxide may be given. Once the area is thoroughly numb, the dentist will use a special drill to remove all of the decay. The tooth is prepared to protect the dental pulp, and the composite filling is coated on top to rebuild the tooth.