Dental Tips Blog

Feb
3

3 Reasons White Fillings Are Better Than Silver Ones

Posted in Fillings

Nowadays, most restorative and cosmetic dentists offer only tooth-colored composite resin fillings. There are a few good reasons for this, as you’ll see.

White Fillings Look Natural

White fillings look more like tooth enamel than metal ones do.

When your teeth are patched up with a material colored to look like your natural enamel, no one will ever know how many fillings you have. On the other hand, people with metal restorations in their teeth may be too embarrassed to show off their smiles.

Modern dentistry combines functionality with esthetics since it’s important to have a smile you can be proud of. That’s why so many dentists have switched to offering only white fillings.

White Fillings Are Gentle on Teeth

If your smile is filled with a material that doesn’t contract at the same rate your teeth do, then it can weaken your enamel. This commonly happens with metal fillings, which can’t expand and contract at the same rate as teeth. As teeth move with time, the rigid metal forces tiny cracks in the dentin and enamel, which can let bacteria in.

Composite resin, on the other hand, moves and flexes with natural tooth material much better. This is another advantage to getting a white filling over a metal one.

White Fillings Are More Conservative

When a dentist places a composite resin filling, he or she chemically bonds it with the tooth. Metal restorations can’t bond with another structure. Because of this, they have to be made a little bigger than necessary and remove more tooth, creating a secure wedge to hold it in place. Getting a white restoration is far less invasive.

Contact a restorative dentist to figure out which kind of filling is best for your teeth.

Posted on behalf of:
Muccioli Dental
6300 Hospital Pkwy # 275
Johns Creek, GA 30097
(678) 389-9955

Jan
28

What to Expect When You Get a Filling

Posted in Fillings

You’re scheduled for a filling and you’ve never had one before. You may be a little anxious about the procedure. What should you expect?

Feeling Numb

First of all, the dentist will make sure that the tooth is well anesthetized before he or she starts working. You won’t feel any pain during the procedure, but you might notice some pressure. The anesthetic may make your tongue and parts of your face feel numb and can take a few hours to wear off afterward.

If at any point you feel that the anesthesia isn’t strong enough, just raise a hand and let the dentist know. He or she can always place a little more to keep you comfortable.

Preparing the Tooth

Your dentist may seal off your tooth with a rubber dam or prop open your mouth with a bite block to provide a clear working area. You’ll also feel a suction that keeps all saliva out of the way, for a dry surface to work with.

The next step is to remove all decay from the tooth. Special – and small – drills will quickly buff away the cavity and damaged structures while smoothing the tooth so that a filling can be placed.

Placing the Filling

This process varies depending on whether you are getting a metal filling or a composite filling you get, but it doesn’t take long. Your dentist pours in the soft material and shapes it to complete your tooth. Once it sets, you’ll bite down on a piece of paper to check the fit. The dentist will also floss around your tooth to make sure the filling is smooth against each side.

That’s it! If you’re only getting one filling, you should be done in less than a half hour. Ask your dentist any questions you have about your procedure.

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

Jan
27

What’s Different About Indirect Fillings?

Posted in Fillings

When you get a cavity, it needs to be repaired before spreading deeper into the tooth. A filling is the most common way to restore lost tooth structure, protect a tooth against sensitivity, and prevent more damage.

There are two main kinds of fillings: direct and indirect. Do you know the difference?

Classic Direct Fillings

The traditional method involves cleaning out decay and removing any damaged parts of a tooth, then rebuilding it by molding a semi-liquid material into the tooth. The material is placed directly into the prepared surface, where it quickly hardens.

How Are Indirect Fillings Placed?

A tooth is prepared similar to when you get a regular filling, but then instead of putting the material right in, the dentist takes a mold of the tooth. A model goes off to a lab and the restoration is made there. Meanwhile, you get a temporary filling and go home. When you return at a later appointment, the dentist bonds the finished restoration in place.

Indirect fillings are also different in that they’re designed to cover a larger area of tooth structure. An inlay is an indirect filling that replaces tooth material between cusps while onlays are more extensive and replace some of the chewing edges of teeth. Onlays are also considered partial crowns.

Why Get an Indirect Filling?

If you try to put a lot of restorative material inside of a tooth, it will get weak. An indirect filling is structurally better for teeth with extensive damage. These restorations are the midway option when a filling is insufficient, but the tooth doesn’t quite need a crown.

To determine which kind of restoration is right for your tooth, contact a dentist in your area.

Posted on behalf of:
Green Dental of Alexandria
1725 Duke St
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 549-1725

Jan
26

How to Tell Whether You Chipped a Tooth or Filling and What to Do

Posted in Fillings

It can be scary to bite down into a sandwich or chew on a handful of nuts and suddenly find a piece of tooth in your hand.

At least, you think it’s part of your tooth.

Broken Tooth or Filling?

Most of today’s fillings are made from a composite resin material dyed to match the natural color of teeth. If a piece of a tooth colored filling breaks off from your tooth, it can be difficult to tell whether it’s a filling or a piece of your enamel.

It’s even possible for a piece of tooth and filling to break off at the same time.

You may be able to figure out the difference between a broken filling and a chipped tooth depending on how much it hurts. If a filling breaks or falls apart entirely, your tooth may be a bit sensitive, at worst.

On the other hand, a small chip in your tooth doesn’t usually hurt. If the damage is large enough, however, it may hurt a lot.

How to Treat a Broken Tooth or Filling

Rinse your mouth out with warm water to get rid of debris. You won’t be able to put a broken filling back on your tooth, but if it’s enamel it may be possible to bond it back in place. But you should try to hold onto it to show your dentist, storing it in a sealed container of saline or milk. If you’re positive it’s a piece of your tooth, get to the dentist within the next hour.

If your tooth hurts, take an over-the-counter pain reliever. Fill an empty hole in your tooth with a temporary dental cement (available over the counter.) Or, if there are sharp edges, you can cover them with a piece of sugar-free gum to protect your cheeks and tongue.

Call your dentist for an emergency appointment to get your tooth examined right away.

Posted on behalf of:
Dream Dentist
1646 W U.S. 50
O’Fallon, IL 62269
(618) 726-2699

Jan
6

Is It Time to Replace Your Dental Fillings?

Posted in Fillings

Almost all dental work requires an update at some point. Over time, things can simply wear out. How can you know when your fillings are due to be replaced?

When There Is Recurrent Decay

Any time a filled tooth gets a new cavity, there’s a chance the filling will have to be replaced.

You may have recurrent decay in a filled tooth if you notice:

  • Loose or broken fillings
  • Food or stain getting trapped at the edge of a restoration
  • Floss catching the edge of a filling
  • Unusual temperature or sweet sensitivity in the tooth

Recurrent decay can happen without any warning signs. Sometimes you won’t know there is a cavity under a filling until a dentist examines the tooth. X-rays are the most helpful way to check for new decay.

The new filling will be larger than the old one. You may even need to get the entire tooth crowned if the cavity is big enough.

Should You Replace Stained Fillings?

You may want to replace fillings that have discolored over time or change out a silver restoration for a white one, solely for aesthetic reasons. If the filling is small enough, replacing it may not be a problem.

But sometimes, unnecessarily replacing a strong and functional filling may only create more problems. Every time your dentist removes a restoration to place a new one, a little more tooth structure is lost and your tooth gets weaker.

If your restoration is serving your tooth well and replacing it would only jeopardize your smile, then it may be best to wait a few more years.

Talk with a restorative dentist near you to find out whether or not your fillings need updating.

Posted on behalf of:
Green Dental of Alexandria
1725 Duke St
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 549-1725

Jan
6

Pros and Cons of White and Silver Fillings

Posted in Fillings

Most of the time, you’ll have the option of choosing between a metal or composite resin or natural tooth colored filling when it comes to dental restorations.

You want to make the right decision for both your oral health and bank account. How can you choose whether a silver and a metal filling is best?

Get started by considering the pros and cons of each.

Benefits of Metal Fillings

  • Cost-effective
  • Long lasting
  • Are easier to place in challenging areas (i.e., treating small children, excess saliva, etc.)

Benefits of White Fillings

  • Look much better since they match your natural tooth color
  • More conservative because they create a chemical bond with tooth enamel
  • Don’t carry the risk of staining teeth like metal fillings do
  • Require less alteration to the tooth’s structure

To make an informed decision, you also need to know the downsides to both restorative options.

Disadvantages of Silver Fillings

The main downside to getting a silver filling is the fact that it’s highly visible. It can also tarnish with time, which causes teeth to discolor and darken. Silver amalgam restorations require more tooth material to be removed to hold the filling in place. Even if you have just a tiny cavity, getting a metal restoration will mean losing more tooth structure.

Disadvantages of White Composite Restorations

Thanks to newer advancements, there are fewer disadvantages to white fillings than in years past. Traditional composite restorations used to not last as long as metal fillings, but that’s beginning to change. However, they still cost slightly more.

You’ll need to get a professional examination to figure out which restorative option is best for the structure of your tooth.

Contact a local family or cosmetic dentist to schedule a consultation.

Posted on behalf of:
Group Health Dental
230 W 41
st St
New York, NY 10036
(212) 398-9690

Dec
26

Should You Try Filling Your Tooth at Home?

Posted in Fillings

Most of those sensational claims and reviews aren’t all they seem.

Temporary” Cement

Many of the clickbait miracle-cure dental filling ads are just touting your average temporary dental cement, found in any drugstore. And it’s just that – temporary. You should not fill a tooth with this cement unless it’s an emergency and you plan to see a dentist soon after.

Permanent” At-Home Fillings

Some products are advertised as permanent tooth filling materials. But if something goes wrong (which can happen if you’re not a dentist) the material can be difficult to remove.

The directions on one such product say to apply the filling to a “prepared” tooth. According to user reviews, no one really knows what that means. They believe “preparing” means brushing. In reality, preparing means drilling out the decay and cleaning out the infection before placing the filling. Unfortunately, hundreds of people are patching up their teeth with this material and essentially locking the bacteria into their tooth, where it will keep multiplying.

For a filling to be lasting, safe, and effective, it must be done placed a certain way and by a trained professional.

Natural Cures for Cavities

The natural cures are just things that help ease symptoms like pain (clove oil) and inflammation (salt). They aren’t going to reverse or even heal an active cavity.

At best, some “natural” cavity-stoppers may simply aid in slowing plaque-growth, which contributes to the start of decay.

Get Real Help for Your Teeth!

There’s only so much you can do at home to slow down a cavity. You’ll be doing your smile a huge favor by seeing a dentist before that small spot on your tooth turns into something bigger.

Posted on behalf of:
Buford Family Dental
4700 Nelson Grogdon Blvd. NE #210
Buford, GA 30518
678.730.2005

Nov
28

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.

Fluoride

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

Nov
19

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

Oct
22

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

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