Tooth decay is one of the most common chronic issues around the world and the leading chronic disease in children. Tooth decay can be caused by a number of issues, including poor oral hygiene of heredity factors. Most of us, regardless of how well we brush or floss, will have cavities at some point in our lives. That’s a fact of life that can be frustrating, but fortunately, it’s one that is getting easier to treat with modern technology and gentle techniques.
For years, dentists used metal fillings to repair decayed teeth. That was the standard for decades. While metal fillings are very strong and last for years, there are now better ways to treat decayed teeth. At Eugene Family Dental, we offer natural-looking bonds and fillings that blend in with your smile and repair your tooth. The fillings are made from a composite resin material that is matched to the natural color of your teeth. No longer do you have to deal with distracting metal amalgam fillings in your mouth.
Untreated cavities can lead to bigger cavities, root canals or even tooth loss. Your best defense against any of these problems is to have a filling placed. To place a filling, we remove a portion of the tooth structure – depending on how big the cavity is – and then restore the area with a filling.
You might not know that they are different ways to treat a fillings and different materials used for fillings. For patients 30 and older, most of them have had metal fillings. Today, metal fillings are not the standard way to treat cavities.
Our office uses only the most durable composite material to restore teeth with cavities. These fillings hold many advantages over metal fillings because they bond to the tooth and look natural. With a more natural-looking restoration in your mouth, you don’t have to worry about opening your mouth to laugh, yawn or smile! In fact, the fillings are so discreet that it’s difficult for anyone but your dentist to determine that you have cavities.
The Facts About Composite Fillings
Composite fillings not only hold a cosmetic superiority to metal fillings, but our tooth-colored fillings actually strengthen the tooth. Metal fillings do not seal to the tooth and often absorb water. When the filling absorbs water, it expands and often creates a crack in the tooth. The lack of a bond in the metal fillings also can create spaces between the filling and the tooth, opening the door to future decay. It’s very common for teeth with large metal fillings to develop a crack under the filling. When that happens, we need to restore the tooth with a crown and possibly even a root canal.
A composite filling does not absorb water and bonds to the tooth, strengthening to walls of the tooth and lowering the risk of a fracture. The bonds can last several years with proper oral hygiene, and we take less tooth enamel to place the fillings. Metal fillings require dentists to take a substantial portion of the tooth’s enamel, but because composite fillings are bonded to the teeth, we can be much more conservative when preparing the tooth for the filling.
Another common argument against amalgam fillings is that restoration contains mercury, a substance that is toxic to people. The mercury is included in the filling because it bonds the metals together to form the restoration. While the FDA has found that the levels of mercury in metal fillings are not harmful to people, patients prefer to have their body free of mercury altogether. I can’t say I blame those patients for their concerns.
Much like composite fillings, we use dental bonds to repair cavities that patients sometimes get on the side or front of their teeth. We can also use bonds for chips and small breaks on patients’ teeth. Dental bonds are blended with the natural color of the tooth and hardened with a special light. Cosmetic dental bonding is a cost effective way to reshape or repair teeth and keep your smile beautiful for years.
I have taken a number of continuing education courses to treat patients with the most advanced cosmetic dentistry. If you’re ready to improve your smile or have cavities that need to be treated, call our office today or use our online form to schedule your first visit with us!