Technology has made improvements in many industries, and a lot of progress has been made in dental materials over the decades. There are two main reasons why your old dental work might not look very nice – and luckily, it's not difficult to fix.
Problem: Older Materials
One dental material that's changed a great deal is composite resin. Older formulations of resin had a tendency to yellow over time like an old plastic, which is certainly not the look you want for your teeth. Newer resins do a much better job of holding up over time; it's impressive what having new resin color-matched to your teeth can do to make dental work less conspicuous.
Problem: Colored Materials
The second reason isn't linked to the age of your dental work, although materials like gold for crowns are much less common on visible teeth today than in the past. A gold tooth is never going to look like a real tooth; other common colored materials include silver amalgam fillings or gold bridges.
Solution: Full Replacement
Whether your problem is discoloration or simply a material that doesn't look natural, there's one thing you can do to fix it: replace the dental work. What this entails will depend on the type of work you're replacing.
Small fillings, for instance, can often be simply removed and replaced with tooth-colored fillings in porcelain or newer, higher-quality composite. Crowns and bridgework can also be replaced easily in almost all cases – although fixed bridges can be trickier. In many cases, since replacing a fixed bridge requires the bridge to be broken off and remade, patients use this as an opportunity to get dental implants for a completely natural look.
Larger fillings may need to be replaced with crowns because their removal might compromise the integrity of the tooth. And dental work on front teeth, which is a common place to see discolored old composite fillings, has another option as well: shave off some of the composite and install a new top layer. This, too, will depend on the size of your fillings.
Since dental work can also simply wear down over time, it's a good idea to have your existing work checked by your dentist; your regular tooth-cleaning is a good time for this. Then you can discuss your options and your specific situation with a professional dentist, like those at Village Family Dental, to decide which solution is best for you.