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Go Natural with Tooth-Colored Fillings

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December 28, 2018
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Go Natural with Tooth-Colored Fillings

Even after sincere dedication to oral hygiene, sometimes cavities strike. But when they do, you don’t have to sacrifice the look of your smile with a mouth full of metal. Composite fillings—also referred to as tooth-colored fillings—can retain the natural look and strength of your smile after cavity treatment is complete. Composite resins are composed of ceramic and plastic compounds built to withstand the pressures of chewing, biting and grinding. Tooth-colored fillings are blended to match the exact shade of your tooth for a seamless smile. Learn about all the different ways Dr. Berry can use tooth-colored fillings to improve your smile.

Almost Everyone Has Cavities

You will never have a need to receive a tooth-colored filling unless you have tooth decay that needs to be removed. Tooth decay is another name for “cavity” or “dental caries”. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIH) reports that tooth decay is the most prevalent chronic disease among children and adults. That’s not only in the United States, but worldwide. Studies show that around 91% of adults have had a cavity at some point in their life. The NIH reports some of the following statistics about cavities:

  • 42% of children under 11 have cavities
  • 23% of those children have untreated tooth decay
  • 59% of teens 12-19 have cavities
  • 20% of those teens have untreated tooth decay
  • 92% of adults between 20 and 64 have had cavities
  • 26% of adults have untreated tooth decay

Tooth decay becomes more common as you age because your teeth have been exposed to sugars and wear and tear for years. Almost everyone has had a cavity at some point or another. The key to knowing if you have one is to visit your dentist often.

Comprehensive Exams and Cleanings

The most popular services we provide our patients are comprehensive exams and dental cleanings. The American Dental Association recommends that all patients see their dentist at least twice a year for these services. For people that have tooth decay or gum disease, or are prone to these conditions, they should see their dentist 3-4 times a year. During a comprehensive exam, Dr. Berry will examine all the hard and soft tissues of your mouth. This includes the teeth, gums, cheeks, lips and throat. An oral cancer screening will be part of this exam, and Dr. Berry will look for lesions or other abnormalities in your mouth.

Generally, a dental hygienist will provide you with a thorough dental cleaning as part of your appointment. This cleaning helps prevent excessive plaque and tartar buildup. You may brush away plaque when you brush or floss your teeth, but tartar (hardened calcified plaque) is harder to remove without special tools. We will take x-rays of your teeth to determine if your bite and alignment is in correct position and to determine if you have cavities. Laser cavity detection using infrared light can also tell us if you have a cavity, how big it is, and its exact location.

You Have a Cavity: Now What?

When we find the presence of tooth decay, we have to remove it or it will continue to spread. You get cavities thanks to sugars in the foods you eat that mix with bacteria in your mouth. This mixture forms a sticky, clear, acidic substance that’s called plaque. That plaque sits on your tooth, slowly eroding away your tooth enamel and causing decay. If your tooth erodes away enough, that plaque will get inside and cause rapid tooth decay. At that point, your options are to receive a tooth-colored filling or a root canal. Our go-to option is a tooth-colored filling unless tooth decay is too severe.

 

cavity filling

Your Tooth-Colored Filling

A filling is a way to restore a tooth damaged by decay or trauma back to its normal function and shape. If you have a tooth that requires a filling, the dentist will first remove any decayed tooth material and clean the affected area. Then, Dr. Berry will fill the cleaned-out cavity with tooth-colored filling material. In the past, metal amalgam material was used to fill a filling. However, this metal was obvious every time patients opened their mouths, and tooth-colored fillings were designed so that dental work wouldn’t be obvious.

A filling helps prevent further tooth decay by closing off any cracks or spaces where bacteria can enter the inner part of the tooth. At our office, we use composite resins, which are tooth-colored fillings instead of metal amalgam. Your tooth-colored filling will be custom-made to match the exact color of your natural teeth, which creates a more natural appearance. Tooth-colored fillings are also much better than silver amalgam fillings. The edges of silver fillings can wear down, become weak or break. With age, the metal of a silver filling expands, contracts and can split. They can corrode, leak, cause stains on your teeth and gums, and are made out of mercury. We love what tooth-colored fillings can do for you instead!

Restore Your Smile Once More

A tooth-colored filling provides durability and resistance to fractures in fillings that need to withstand moderate pressure from chewing food. They can be used on either the front or back of your teeth and they look natural. If you have a cavity that needs to be filled, you can keep a beautiful smile with a tooth-colored filling. To learn more about these fillings, or how you can avoid tooth decay in the first place, call Mountain Aire Dentistry today at (303) 731-7755!