Tooth-colored “resin” fillings have been used in dentistry for many years, especially to restore front teeth. It can lighten stains, close gaps and even alter crooked or malformed teeth. The newest tooth- colored filling materials (resins) are quite successfully used to fill cavities in back teeth. These tooth-colored materials are especially useful when the filling will be visible when you talk or smile. These posterior (back) tooth-colored resins can be expected to last for several years. A reasonable estimate at this time is approximately 10 to 12 years or more. The length of time the fillings last depends on the position and size of the filling, the care the patient gives it, and the foods the patient eats.
Resin fillings in back teeth require less drilling than for silver fillings; and the less the dentist must drill your tooth, the better off you are and the fewer dental problems you will develop in the future. When a tooth is prepared (drilled), it becomes weaker; filling it with a bonded resin material will help make it strong again. Advantages of the resin restorations include a natural finished appearance similar to that of your real teeth and a conservative removal of tooth structure. They require only one reservation for completion.
Disadvantages of tooth-colored fillings in posterior teeth include the difficulty in their placement. They also cost about 50% more than silver fillings and most employers when they chose dental coverage chose to have posterior fillings downgraded to the cost of placing an amalgam to save money on coverage. They can be used in patients who have a grinding or bruxing (clenching) habit only if a fabricated night guard is made to prevent the grinding of the teeth.