Picture this: You’re savoring your favorite ice cream, and as you bite into a particularly crunchy almond, you feel a sudden pain. Ouch! That sharp sting in your tooth is an immediate sign that something’s not quite right. It’s just one classic scenario that may call for a dental filling.
But before you start imagining a mouthful of shiny silver, let’s talk about a safer and better-looking alternative – composite fillings. At Radiance Dental in Camas, WA, we’re all about preserving your natural smile and ensuring your oral health. Let’s discuss dental fillings and discover why composite fillings are the way to go.
When You Might Need a Filling
Dental fillings are a common procedure necessary when your tooth develops a cavity. Essentially, a hole or structural damage in your tooth caused by decay and cavities is often the result of poor oral hygiene, sugary diets, and the build-up of plaque and bacteria. While your regular dental checkups aim to prevent these cavities, sometimes they can go unnoticed until they become a painful inconvenience.
The classic symptoms of a cavity include tooth sensitivity, pain when biting down, and, sometimes, visible holes or dark spots on the tooth’s surface. Any of these symptoms means it’s time to consult your dentist.
Why Preserve Natural Teeth With Fillings
So, would dentists rather preserve your natural teeth with fillings? Preserving your natural teeth is essential for several reasons. Your natural teeth offer unparalleled durability and strength. Losing a tooth can lead to a range of issues, such as difficulty in eating, changes in your bite, and even shifting of your surrounding teeth.
Additionally, your teeth play a huge role in your appearance. A healthy smile can boost your self-esteem and confidence, which makes you feel more confident in social or professional settings. With dental fillings, you can maintain your natural teeth while repairing any decay or damage.
What are Composite Fillings?
Now that we’ve established why preserving your natural teeth is important let’s talk about composite fillings. This modern advancement in dentistry is a far cry from the old-school silver amalgam fillings. Composite fillings, or tooth-colored or white fillings, are crafted from a blend of resin and finely ground glass particles. They’re crafted to match the natural color of your teeth and ensure a discreet and natural-looking result.
The process of getting a composite filling is straightforward. Your dentist will start by numbing the area to ensure you’re comfortable throughout the procedure. Then, they’ll remove the decayed portion of your tooth, leaving behind a clean and cavity-free space. Afterward, they’ll carefully apply the composite material, shaping and molding it to fit your tooth’s contour until it’s perfectly matched. A special light hardens the material, ensuring it’s firmly in place. The result? A strong, natural-looking tooth that’s free from cavities.
Advantages of Composite Filling vs. Amalgam
Now, let’s understand why composite fillings are a safer choice than silver amalgam. First and foremost, their ability to match your natural teeth is a massive advantage. Composite fillings flawlessly blend with your natural teeth. Unlike silver amalgam, which is glaringly obvious, composite fillings allow you to maintain oral health without paying attention to dental work.
Composite fillings also require less of your natural tooth removal compared to amalgam. This means that more of your natural tooth structure is preserved. Silver amalgams may require a more extensive tooth removal process and are less conservative in preserving your natural teeth.
Another advantage of composite fillings is that they are mercury-free. Silver amalgam fillings contain mercury, which has raised potential health risk concerns over the years.
Since composite fillings can be used on both front and back teeth, they are a practical solution for cavities in any part of your mouth. This flexibility is essential to maintaining the look of your smile.
Composite fillings bond directly to the tooth, which provides additional support and stability. This ability to bond makes them a more reliable choice that reduces the risk of leaks and fractures. Silver amalgam fillings don’t bond directly to the tooth, leaving gaps where bacteria can enter and cause further decay.
Lastly, composite fillings are less sensitive to temperature changes, so you won’t experience the discomfort that can sometimes occur with silver amalgam fillings when you have hot or cold foods and beverages.
Other Types of Dental Fillings
While composite fillings are an excellent choice, other dental fillings may be recommended based on your specific needs. Here’s a brief overview of a few alternatives:
Glass Ionomer Fillings
Glass ionomer fillings are a type of tooth-colored filling that contains glass particles. They are often used for small cavities in non-load-bearing areas like the front teeth and for pediatric patients. These fillings release fluoride, which can help prevent further decay and strengthen the tooth.
Gold fillings, also known as gold inlays or onlays, are made of a mixture of gold and other metals. While incredibly durable and long-lasting, they are less popular because of their obvious appearance.
Getting Composite Fillings at Radiance Dental
When you’re ready to explore the benefits of composite fillings or other dental restorations, the team at Radiance Dental in Camas, WA, is here to provide expert care.
The process begins with a thorough examination of your teeth to determine the extent of the decay and a personalized course of action. The placement of composite fillings is typically completed in one visit, and the results are immediate. You’ll leave our practice with a healthier, more confident smile. After that, you can continue to enjoy your favorite foods and beverages without worry.
Schedule Your Consultation
Schedule your consultation today to discuss your dental needs and find out if composite fillings are the best tooth material for you. Let us help you maintain your natural teeth while ensuring a brighter, more confident you. Call our Camas, WA, dental office today!