Dental Tips Blog


How to Make Your Dental Fillings Last

Posted in Fillings

Despite some incredible advances in dentistry, there is not yet a single dental filling that’s expected to last forever.

Metal fillings tend to last no longer than 15 years and composite restorations have even shorter lifespans.

Even still, the way you take care of your dental fillings affects how long they last in your smile.

Try these tips for getting the most out of your new dental work:

Mouth Guards

A habit of grinding or clenching your teeth at night can loosen fillings or break down the tooth around them. It’s worth investing in a special night guard to provide space to keep your teeth slightly separated while you sleep.

Play sports? You may consider getting an athletic mouth guard. This will cushion the blow if your jaw is shoved back (reducing the risk of concussion,) and protect your teeth from fracturing.


The edges of dental fillings are very susceptible to decay. Those margins can be opened up by cavity-causing bacteria. As a cavity progress under the filling, it can loosen up and fall out.

Strengthen the enamel around your fillings by getting plenty of fluoride through dentist-recommended products.

Good Oral Hygiene

Just because your tooth is filled doesn’t make it invincible! You still need to diligently brush and floss restored teeth every single day. Proper oral hygiene reduces the amount of plaque bacteria that collects around dental fillings.

Regular Dental Checkups

Visit your dentist regularly to check for signs of a weak restorations. The sooner you catch them, the sooner you can treat the tooth and avoid the nasty surprise of needing a root canal or extraction.

Call your local dentist today to plan your next checkup.

Posted on behalf of:
Soft Touch Dentistry
1214 Paragon Dr
O’Fallon, IL 62269
(618) 622-5050


What to Do When a Dental Filling Falls Out

Posted in Fillings

Dental fillings can fall out for a variety of reasons:

  • It didn’t set properly or have time to harden after being placed
  • Chewing on a hard food that chipped the tooth
  • The filling is outdated and starting to leak
  • A new cavity wore away tooth around the filling

Whatever the cause, losing your restoration can be a bothersome sensation.

Here’s what to do if you experience this dental emergency.

Call a Dentist

Most dental offices can see you right away to address your emergency since they leave time in their schedule for cases like this each day. Call an office nearby to find out how soon they can see you.

When You Have to Wait

If you’re unable to see a dentist ASAP for any reason, the most important thing you can do is protect your tooth.

Avoid chewing on the side of your mouth with the tooth that’s missing a filling. Biting down on a weak tooth that has a hole in it increases the risk of it breaking even more.

Look for an emergency tooth repair kit in a drugstore. These kits contain a temporary dental cement. You can safely apply this cement yourself to protect and strengthen your tooth until you’re able to get the tooth properly repaired.

What if It Hurts?

A missing filling doesn’t automatically equal a toothache. But it’s normal for teeth to be sensitive after a filling falls out and leaves behind a gaping hole.

Here, too, a temporary filling will help insulate the exposed tooth nerves. A topical anesthetic can also aid in dulling pain.

Talk with your dentist to find out what you can do to keep your dental restorations snug in your teeth for as long as possible.

Posted on behalf of:
Dunwoody Family & Cosmetic Dentistry
1816 Independence Square, Suite B
Dunwoody, GA 30338
(770) 399-9199


What Is the Best Dental Filling Material?

Posted in Fillings

Asking “which is the best dental filling” is like asking “which is the best fuel for your car” or “which moisturizer is best for your skin.” The point is, that it’s subjective. It depends on the person and their unique needs.

Consider the facts of some common dental materials:

Gold – This material is easy to work with and almost never breaks or wears down. Gold restorations last a long time. They tend to last longer than teeth themselves, in fact. The downside is that unless you like to show off “bling” in your smile, gold fillings are very noticeable and tend to cost more.

Porcelain – Some restorations (indirect fillings) can be made outside of the mouth much like dental crowns and then cemented into the prepared tooth. These can be made out of other materials, but porcelain is popular for its beauty and strength. Indirect restorations are stronger than fillings that are poured into teeth and cover more surface area.

Silver amalgam – Silver fillings are a classic go-to for dental restorations. They’re long-lasting and cost-effective. But like gold fillings, they’re quite visible, especially in front teeth. And unlike gold or other restorations, amalgam fillings contain mercury, a relatively harmless yet controversial ingredient.

Composite resin – Tooth colored fillings represent the standard of restorative dentistry, these days. They blend in well with teeth, chemically-bond with enamel, and are gentle to tooth structure. White fillings are made from a composite resin and tend to last the shortest amount of time, however.

You can see that picking out the right filling is a subjective matter. It’s all about what you like and what your tooth needs. Your local restorative or cosmetic dentist can help you choose the material that works best for you.

Posted on behalf of:
Pure Dental Health
2285 Peachtree Rd #203
Atlanta, GA 30309
(678) 666-3642


Alternatives to Traditional Dental Fillings

Posted in Fillings

Your dentist says you need a dental filling but there’s no way you’re letting another tooth get a silver restoration…especially one that can be seen when you smile.

There’s no way to avoid treatment altogether. Once your tooth reaches the point of needing a filling, it has to be done. Otherwise, the cavity will just grow and damage the tooth even more, or spread to other teeth.

But there are some beautiful modern dental restorations that replace classic metal filings.

Durable and Beautiful

Most of today’s dental fillings are made from a mercury- and silver-free composite resin. This material adapts comfortably to tooth structure and bonds with the enamel for a snug fit.

Being made of tooth-colored materials, composite fillings blend in nicely with teeth and can be colored to perfectly match your smile’s hue.

Indirect restorations make up another filling alternative. These restorations are made in a solid piece before the dentist cements it into the prepared spot in your tooth. In most cases, they are usually crafted from porcelain dyed to match your tooth’s color.

So between composite dental fillings and porcelain inlays or onlays, you’ve got a few simple ways to avoid a dark-colored dental filling.

But is there any way to avoid needing a filling in the first place?

Prevention Over Restoration

You’ll save money and keep your smile healthy for longer if you aim to prevent cavities.

Proper brushing and flossing are the best ways to do so. Next, try increasing your fluoride use to strengthen your enamel. Finally, ask your dentist about sealing up healthy molars so that decay won’t have the chance to settle in.

Talk with your dentist for other tips on preventative dental care to avoid needing another filling.

Posted on behalf of:
Buford Family Dental
4700 Nelson Grogdon Blvd. NE #210
Buford, GA 30518


How to Prevent Stains on White Fillings

Posted in Fillings

Brand new white composite dental fillings are wonderful because they blend in perfectly with tooth enamel.

But dark ugly stains can make these restorations more visible with time.

The stain around them can be caused by things like:

  • Berries
  • Smoking
  • Curries
  • Tea and coffee
  • Red wine
  • Soda

Naturally, one of the most effective ways to avoid discolored composite fillings is to avoid the things that cause the stain.

However, there are a few other things you can do that might help.

Whitening Toothpaste

Most whitening toothpastes contain mild abrasives such as baking soda. These can buff out surface stains on teeth and white dental restorations. Use this in moderation, however. Too many abrasives can have an opposite effect, scratching up fillings and making them more likely to retain stain with their roughness.

Rinse Well

Make it a habit to sip water frequently throughout the day. You can rinse out staining foods as quickly as they go in, so that the pigments don’t have time to settle into fillings.

Update Your Fillings

With time, stain could be a sign of decay or damage in an old dental filling. Replacing your restoration may be the best option. In the case of fillings on front teeth falling out of repair, you may need a more long-lasting cosmetic solution. Dental crowns and veneers make perfect upgrades for stained composite restorations at the front of your smile.

Dental Cleanings

A professional dental cleaning may be your ticket to whiter dental fillings. Some stains can be blasted away with the help of specialized stain-removing tools. Make sure that you schedule at least two dental cleanings a year to prevent excessive stain buildup.

Want to learn more about keeping your dental fillings stain-free? Visit your local dentist to discuss your options.

Posted on behalf of:
Mundo Dentistry
3463 US-21 #101
Fort Mill, SC 29715
(704) 825-2018


Direct or Indirect Fillings – Which Is Better?

Posted in Fillings

The classic method for repairing cavities is to patch the hole in a tooth with a silver or white composite filling. An indirect filling, on the other hand, is when the restoration is made outside of the mouth and then placed into the “hole.”

Indirect fillings are often called “onlays” or “inlays.” They usually take more time to make than a traditional filling. The prepared tooth is scanned or molded to create a model and the finished restoration will be put in the tooth in a single piece.

Which method of restoring teeth is better?

When to Get a Direct Filling

A direct filling is usually the first line of defense against a cavity or chipped tooth.

As long as the damage is small, a direct filling may be all you need. These traditional restorations work well in teeth that still have a solid structure remaining.

What if that cavity in your tooth is too big for a filling?

Advantages of Indirect Fillings

If a traditional silver or composite restoration isn’t enough, the next step is usually a dental crown.

But you don’t have to cap your tooth entirely, thanks to indirect fillings. An onlay or inlay is something between a crown and a filling. It’s made very much like a crown, but it requires the alteration of far less natural tooth structure.

Indirect fillings are a great option for support and strength while not compromising the rest of a tooth.

So when it comes down to indirect filling versus direct filling, it’s all about what your tooth needs. Your dentist will help you determine which option is best for you when you head in for an exam.

Posted on behalf of:
Montevallo Family Dentistry
711 Wadsworth St
Montevallo, AL 35115
(205) 665-2224


Signs You May Need a Dental Filling

Posted in Fillings

Getting a filling isn’t exactly at the top of your list of favorite things.

But your tooth may need a filling sooner than you realize. Putting it off could leave you in severe pain or a painful dental bill, at the least.

Here are a few signs you need to see about getting your tooth filled before it needs a crown, root canal, or extraction.

Food and Temperature Sensitivity

If your tooth really zings in the presence of hot drinks, sticky sweets, or sour foods, then that’s a pretty sure sign you have an active cavity.

Dark Spots

A discolored spot that looks dark yellow, gray, brown, or even black could indicate decay. It is normal to have some stain that doesn’t contain a cavity, but if a spot is new or you’re in doubt, get it checked out.

Pain When Chewing

Do you find yourself favoring one side of your mouth over the other when you chew? If a tooth hurts when you chew on it, then that could mean it has a cavity or even a crack.

Rough Edges

Does floss catch and tear on the side of one particular tooth these days? Rough spots can sometimes be the sharp edges of a hole caused by decay.

Damaged or Missing Old Filling

If you already have a filling that’s suffered some wear and tear, it will likely need replacement. A damaged restoration can’t do its job and with time can allow cavity-causing bacteria to sneak into the tooth. The sooner you get the old filling replaced, the more minimal your treatment is likely to be.

Visit your local dentist if you notice any of these signs that you need a filling.

Posted on behalf of:
Crabapple Dental
12670 Crabapple Rd #110
Alpharetta, GA 30004
(678) 319-0123


Which Is Safer: to Remove a Metal Filling or to Keep It?

Posted in Fillings

Talk about a dilemma! Even dentists have different feelings on the subject of metal filling removal. Here’s some information to help you make your decision.

Why Switch to Tooth-Colored Fillings?

Lots of people want to get rid of their metal fillings because they’re concerned about the mercury content. Amalgam restorations do have some mercury, but it’s not likely enough to cause problems from inside a tooth.

Even so, it gives some peace of mind to just have the metal restorations removed for good.

On the other hand, some folks aren’t so much worried about the mercury as how the metal looks. Upgrading to natural tooth-colored fillings provides a healthier and more natural finish for the smile.

The Dangers of Removing Metal Fillings

The biggest “risk” of removing a mercury filling is inhaling mercury vapors. Usually, you need to inhale a lot of vapors over a long period of time to suffer ill effects.

Getting one filling removed probably won’t harm you. Especially as your dentist will use mercury-safe techniques to lower your exposure. For example, your dentist will cut the filling into large easy-to-remove pieces to limit the dust particles generated.

Another danger is that your tooth may become sensitive and weak.

However, removing the filling isn’t the cause of trouble. It’s a proactive way to get started on treatment you’d eventually need, anyway.

To Remove or Keep?

The bottom line is this: you don’t have to change out your metal fillings unless you want to or until your tooth can’t wait any longer for a new one.

If you aren’t sure how your current metal amalgam fillings are doing, plan a visit with your local dentist.

Posted on behalf of:
Precision Digital Dentistry
674 US-202/206 Suite 7
Bridgewater, NJ 08807
(908) 955-6999


Is it Safe to Get a Dental Filling While Pregnant?

Posted in Fillings

In most cases, an untreated cavity is more dangerous to a pregnancy than getting a filling.

How Safe Are Dental Fillings?

If you need a filling that can’t wait until after your baby is born, then you can safely get one during the second trimester of your pregnancy. This is a time when it’s most comfortable for the mother to sit through an appointment. It’s also past the critical stages of development for the baby.

Your dentist will likely recommend a composite resin (tooth-colored) filling over a silver one that contains mercury.

What About Anesthetics During Pregnancy?

Some women are hesitant to get a filling while pregnant because they’re afraid that anesthetics will harm their baby. They may worry they’ll have to get treatment without any numbing shots, at all.

The stress from a zero-anesthesia procedure is actually what can be harmful for a developing baby. Fortunately, there are classes of anesthetics which are safe for pregnant women and can help them relax during necessary treatment.

Pregnancy and Your Dental Health

You can put off the need for getting a filling during pregnancy by practicing good oral hygiene. Topical fluoride use via toothpastes and mouthrinses will help you avoid tooth decay and won’t harm your baby. Rinsing after morning sickness and brushing two to three times a day will also lower your cavity risk.

It isn’t always convenient to get a filling while you’re pregnant. But it’s always better to visit a dentist rather than ignore a serious oral health issue which can affect your growing baby. If you have any questions about which treatment is safe during your pregnancy, talk with a local restorative dentist.

Posted on behalf of:
Wayne G. Suway, DDS, MAGD
1820 The Exchange SE #600
Atlanta, GA 30339
(770) 953-1752


Are There Risks of Getting Mercury Poisoning from a Dental Filling?

Posted in Fillings

Could something as simple as a dental filling cause mercury poisoning?

Here’s what you need to know.

What Is in Dental Fillings

Amalgam or silver fillings often contain some combination of these metals: silver, nickel, zinc, copper, tin, and mercury. Why the mercury?

Mercury helps mix the metals in a liquid form, allows the dentist to shape and pack the filling like a putty, and then it hardens everything into a lasting restoration.

Silver fillings are fast and cost-effective to make. But more of today’s restorations are made from mixes of resin and ceramic and don’t require any mercury. These fillings are tooth-colored and carry no risk of mercury poisoning, at all.

Is There Any Risk from Silver Fillings?

Having a metal filling in your mouth is not toxic. Even if you swallowed some of an amalgam filling it wouldn’t harm you. Inhaling mercury vapors is what causes trouble.

Very few vapors come off from an amalgam restoration. You are exposed to more mercury vapors from other environmental sources than from your dental work. Still, you may want to avoid silver fillings if you are already exposed to a lot of mercury, such as through your job.

Reduce Your Risk for Mercury Poisoning

Ongoing studies are investigating the risks of mercury-based metal fillings. But so far, the research shows no risk of poisoning.

If you have metal filling that’s in good shape, there’s no rush to replace it. Your dentist can remove an amalgam restoration if it’s broken, there is decay under it, or if you want a whiter smile.

Ask your dentist for a consultation to find out what your best restorative option is.

Posted on behalf of:
Kennesaw Mountain Dental Associates
1815 Old 41 Hwy NW #310
Kennesaw, GA 30152
(770) 927-7751

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