While cavities are something we all try our best to avoid, most people may require a filling to keep their smile healthy. In the not-so-distant past, your only option for restoring a decayed tooth was a dark metal filling that was visible when you smiled and laughed. Today, modern dental materials that we use in our dental office allow our dentist to create long-lasting restorations that are strong and highly esthetic.
At Phinney Ridge Dental in Seattle, WA, we use only tooth-colored restorations that are perfectly matched to your existing tooth color and structure to achieve the highest cosmetic and functional result possible. We believe that oral health can be combined with a pleasing appearance.
What Are Tooth-Colored Fillings?
Tooth-colored fillings are made from a composite of plastic resins. Composite resin fillings can be matched to the shade of your existing teeth, and look completely natural. The resins are entirely safe, reliable, long-lasting, and effective.
Tooth-colored fillings can mimic the look and feel of your natural teeth and are wear-resistant and translucent. When used to fill a cavity, they can strengthen the structure of the tooth. Once a cavity is filled using a tooth-colored filling, it will match your natural tooth shade, and no one will be able to notice, not even you!
Benefits Of Tooth-Colored Fillings
Composite is a BPA-free and metal-free resin material that comes in a wide range of colors to match any tooth. The use of tooth-colored fillings is not only aesthetic but also helps us to preserve your healthy tooth structure. Old amalgam (metal) fillings required the removal of a significant portion of your tooth structure to anchor it in place. Today, we need only remove the damaged or decayed area of your tooth to bond the composite material.
While the American Dental Association has repeatedly reported that the level of mercury in amalgam fillings is safe and does not cause any short- or long-term side effects, many patients do not like the idea of metal or mercury in their fillings. Composite dental fillings provide a safe solution that looks great and eliminates the worry over allergic reactions or health concerns associated with amalgam fillings.
The main benefits of tooth-colored fillings include:
- Tooth-colored fillings don’t contain mercury
- Tooth-colored fillings will bond to the structure of your tooth, reducing any risk of the filling falling out
- Unlike metal fillings, tooth-colored fillings will never break down, leak, or damage the tooth
Why Do People Get Cavities?
Enamel is the hardest substance in your body, and can withstand immense pressure from chewing and grinding—yet it is still sensitive to decay. Your diet can have a significant effect on your oral health. Sugar is a common culprit for cavities, which is why we recommend limiting sweets and sodas. Grinding your teeth can also wear down your enamel and lead to cavities. If you find yourself clenching or grinding, let your dentist know. We may recommend a night guard to keep your smile healthy. You may also need orthodontic treatment if your bite is misaligned.
The best way to avoid cavities is by brushing twice a day for two minutes and flossing once a day. Regular dental cleanings and exams ensure that your oral health is on track. If it’s been a while since your last dental cleaning, contact our dentist’s office today!
Procedure For Fillings Cavities
Dr. Bickel may recommend filling a tooth for a variety of reasons, including tooth decay and chipped teeth. The procedure is the same as using traditional fillings. Before the dental procedure, the area will be anesthetized so that the patient feels no discomfort. Any decay will be removed from the tooth, followed by dental restoration. The tooth-colored filling is placed into the tooth and bonded to the structure. The composite nature of the filling allows your dentist to shape the tooth, and the strong bond to the tooth structure creates a long-lasting restoration.
Filling a cavity is essential to maintain good oral health. A cavity is created when decay starts to erode a healthy tooth. Cavities can vary in size, but if not treated, they can continue to grow and eat the tooth. Over time, cavities can create a significant amount of damage and can lead to toothaches and infection.
Many people who have cavities may not even realize it. By the time a patient feels sensitivity or pain, the cavity has reached the innermost part of the tooth, where it can cause severe damage. Sometimes you may see small holes in your teeth or brown spots on the tooth’s surface. Many times, the cavity is too small or in a difficult-to-see location, which makes it hard for you to identify on your own.
If the cavity is too large for a tooth-colored filling, Dr. Bickel may recommend a dental crown to cover the tooth. Dental crowns in Seattle, WA cover the entire surface of the tooth and protect and stabilize a weakened tooth. Dr. Bickel can usually catch cavities before they become big problems through dental exams and cleanings. It is always easier to detect and treat tooth decay when it first starts.
One primary use of tooth-colored fillings is dental bonding. Dental bonding is a non-invasive cosmetic dentistry treatment that requires minimal prep. The composite resin can be added to your existing tooth to repair chips, and small flaws, or change the shape of your tooth. The entire process is quick and effective and can be done in one dental visit.
Patients often benefit from dental bonding to correct minor smile imperfections, including:
- Enamel erosion
- Chipped or cracked teeth
- Gaps between teeth
- Misshaped teeth
- Worn teeth
- Stained teeth
Because composite is tooth-colored and highly cosmetic, Dr. Bickel can use it to fill in small chips and imperfections in your teeth without the need for extensive restoration. This is great for teeth that have flaws that can collect stains and darken your smile. He can even use it to close small gaps or give your teeth a more uniform appearance.
Dental bonding is an efficient and cost-effective way to enhance your smile and improve minor flaws.
Conservative Tooth-Colored Fillings
Because our Phinney Ridge dentist uses digital dental x-rays to help with the early detection of cavities and other oral health conditions, we can catch most decay in its initial stages. When placing a restoration, Dr. Micah Bickel will always ensure that you are entirely comfortable. He will remove any damaged tooth structure and signs of decay and then treat your tooth with a solution to help your composite adhere.
Dr. Bickel will match the shade of composite with your natural tooth color and use it to fill in the area where he removed the decay. He will shape and polish the surface and use a curing light to harden the material. You will be able to eat on your repair right away!