Dental Tips Blog


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


Are Metal Fillings Bad for Teeth?

Posted in Fillings

Dentists have used amalgam dental restorations which contain silver and other metals to fill teeth for decades.

Metal fillings have been in use so long because they are cost-effective and easy to place. In fact, you can still find some dental offices that offer them.

Such places are becoming scarce, however, for the following reasons:

Amalgam Fillings Contain Mercury

Mercury is an essential part of metal fillings because it’s what enables the filling to be shaped and placed into a tooth before hardening. This mercury stays in place and shouldn’t make you sick. But some people still worry about having a potentially dangerous substance in their mouths.

Metal Fillings Stress Tooth Enamel

Although amalgam fillings last a long time, they can put a lot of wear on teeth.

Metals expand and contract with temperature changes. A metal filling gets slightly larger in warm temperatures and shrinks slightly in cool ones. Your mouth regular experiences extremes in temperature change when you take in hot and cold foods.

The problem with this is that your teeth can’t expand and contract as fast as metals do. With time, the more rapid motions of a metal filling can weaken the enamel and cause tiny cracks that lead to sensitivity, fracture, and cavities.

Silver Doesn’t Look the Best on Teeth

Metal fillings are also falling out of favor just because people don’t like the look of them especially when there are more subtle options like white composite fillings. A tooth-colored filling is much more natural looking and is especially useful for making small cosmetic smile enhancements.

Ask your dentist about which restorative options available in your area are right for your smile.

Posted on behalf of:
Dental Care Center At Kennestone
129 Marble Mill Rd NW
Marietta, GA 30060
(770) 424-4565


Why Is My Filled Tooth Sensitive?

Posted in Fillings

Isn’t the point of a filling to stop pain of a cavity? Then why does your tooth hurt?

There are a few possible reasons behind your sensitivity and discomfort.

Your Tooth Is Getting Used to its New Structure

It’s not every day that your teeth get opened up and exposed to air. Although you’re numb for the procedure, your tooth may complain about the intrusion for a few days afterwards.

Give your tooth a few days to settle down before you start panicking. Use a fluoride rinse and a sensitivity toothpaste to reinforce weak spots in your enamel.

The Filling Is “Too High”

Sometimes a little difference can make a big one. What that means is a subtle height discrepancy in your dental filling can throw off your entire bite. It might only feel as annoying as a seed stuck in your tooth, but it can cause some people a lot of annoyance.

You may not be able to tell for sure if this is the issue, but if the pain lasts a while, your dentist can confirm it. A brief adjustment will make your tooth comfortable again.

You Need More Than a Filling

Dentists prefer to start out with the most conservative treatment when possible. Treating with a filling is the best way to preserve your natural tooth. But it could turn out that your tooth has more damage than expected and you need a crown or root canal.

If you’re experiencing pain near your new filling that persists for a week or more or interferes with eating, call your dentist. He or she will have you right back in to take a look and make adjustments that’ll get you the relief you need.

Posted on behalf of:
Manhattan Dental Design
315 W 57th St Suite 206
New York, NY 10019
(646) 504-437


How Does Filling a Cavity Make It Better?

Posted in Fillings

A cavity is a hole in your tooth that’s caused by acid-producing bacteria.

Dentists have been filling teeth for decades in an effort to stop the spread of cavities. How do fillings work, though?

What a Dental Filling Does 

When a cavity strikes, it creates a weak spot that compromises your tooth’s structural integrity. It’s only a matter of time until biting down on your tooth can cause it to chip or fracture.

Not only do cavities weaken teeth, but they very rarely stop growing once they get started. The bacteria that eat a hole in the tooth multiply and keep on producing the acid that makes the hole bigger and bigger.

Before long, a cavity can grow so large that the tooth becomes abscessed or breaks apart completely.

Dental fillings restore holes in teeth to keep them strong and seal out germs that would only make the cavity larger. Before your dentist fills your tooth, he or she ensures that all the infected and damaged tissues is completely gone.

What’s the Best Dental Restoration?

The kind of restoration you need depends on the amount of damage your tooth has experienced. Treatments range from classic direct fillings to partial crowns to root canals. The sooner you treat your tooth, the more conservative the procedure will be, and the more likely you are to avoid the need for re-treatment.

All kinds of dental restorations can wear down and fall apart with time. But filling a tooth still remains the best way to treat a cavity. Good oral hygiene will help your fillings to last as long as possible.

If you suspect that you have a cavity, call your dentist to learn about your options.

Posted on behalf of:
Les Belles NYC Dentistry
420 Lexington Ave #228
New York, NY 10170

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