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(781) 648-0279
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Call Us
(781) 648-0279
Book
Online

Cavity Fillings

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Everyone gets cavities. Today’s modern restorative dentistry techniques
allow you to get your teeth repaired without unsightly or toxic metal
amalgam fillings.


Tooth-colored fillings use strong, durable
tooth-colored composite resins which look like your natural teeth and
provide you with an attractive smile.


Mercury-Free Dentistry

A
material known as amalgam is commonly used by dentists to fill cavities
and decayed teeth. Unfortunately, amalgam is partially composed of
mercury – a toxic material that research has proven to be harmful to the
body, even at minimal levels of exposure. Additionally, mercury is
responsible for the abnormal, metallic coloring of traditional dental
fillings, and also requires an extensive filtration process before it
can be disposed of properly.


We are proud to say that our
Arlington Dentist and our experienced staff practices mercury-free
dentistry. Every treatment and procedure we offer utilizes mercury-free
materials designed with patient safety in mind. Our tooth-colored
fillings are composed of strong composite materials that provide added
support and protection for your teeth, as well as a more natural-looking
color that is barely detectable on the treated tooth. Ultimately, our
mercury-free techniques offer you the highest degree of safety without
sacrificing results.


Dental Composites

Dental composites
are also called white fillings. Crowns and in-lays can also be made in
the laboratory from dental composites. These materials are similar to
those used in direct fillings and are tooth colored. Their strength and
durability is not as high as porcelain or metal restorations and they
are more prone to wear and discoloration.


Many people still have
silver/mercury fillings in their mouths from years past. These fillings
are not particularly pleasing to the eye, and we know that by
unavoidable design, silver/mercury fillings ultimately result in a
weaker tooth structure. Porcelain inlays and tooth-colored restorations
(onlays) create fillings that are not only beautiful (or unnoticeable),
but also add strength to weakened teeth. These restorations are
aesthetically pleasing and very strong thanks to new bonding
technologies.


What are tooth-colored fillings?

Tooth-colored
fillings are made of a resin composite that's designed to be extremely
strong and durable. Unlike metal amalgam fillings, tooth-colored
fillings can be tinted to match the surrounding tooth material so they
blend in and look natural.


Are tooth-colored fillings better than traditional metal fillings?

Tooth-colored
fillings offer several advantages over traditional metal amalgam
fillings, including an improved cosmetic appearance compared to metal
fillings, which are much more obvious and tend to become darker over
time. They also can be shaped so they feel comfortable and help to
support a healthy, balanced bite. Plus, the material itself adheres well
to the tooth surface, using a special solution to prepare the surface
so it bonds with the tooth instead of simply laying on top and enabling
decay-causing bacteria to “leak in” around the edges. And of course,
tooth-colored fillings contain no mercury; metal fillings contain large
amounts of mercury, which can pose health dangers.


Disadvantages Of Silver Fillings

Silver
fillings have many drawbacks. The edges of the silver filling can wear
down, become weak or break. This results in the tooth not being
protected and creates an environment where cavities get started once
again. With age, the metal of a silver filling expands, contracts, and
can split.


Silver fillings contain 50 percent mercury. They can corrode, leak, and cause stains on your teeth and gums. Fortunately, silver fillings can safely be replaced with tooth-colored restorations.

Advantages of Tooth-Colored Restorations

Appearance: Tooth-colored filling material comes in a great number of shades and is matched to your individual tooth color. The materials used for front teeth have a high shine, whereas the materials for back teeth are designed for strength. Tooth-colored restorations look natural and can be virtually undetectable.

Durability: Tooth-colored fillings are now harder and thus comparable to silver amalgam fillings. A small tooth-colored filling could last a lifetime, and larger such fillings can be expected to last many years. The factors that determine the life span of a particular tooth-colored filling include: the biting force on the filling, the size of the filling relative to the tooth (smaller fillings will usually be more durable than larger fillings), and how teeth are cleaned and maintained.

Noticeability: A new filling should feel natural, like your own teeth. After the anesthesia has worn off and you can feel your teeth and bite again, you should not notice anything particularly different. It should be smooth and comfortable. There is a period that you might feel some sensitivity to temperature after the restoration. This is temporary as with any other restoration.


What happens in the tooth filling procedure?

Before
the filling is put in place, your tooth will be evaluated to determine
the extent of decay or damage. Sometimes, damage can be examined
visually and with special instruments or picks, but other times, x-rays
will be needed to assess the tooth structure. Next, the decayed or
damaged area will need to be completely removed and the cavity will be
cleaned of debris. Once the cavity is completely cleaned, the surface
will be prepared using a special solution to improve adherence of the
filling material. The composite material is mixed and tinted to match
your surrounding teeth, and then flowed onto the surface of the tooth. A
special light is used to cure the material, which is then gently shaped
and buffed for a comfortable fit and natural appearance.


The Process of Filling a Tooth

There
are many reasons why a tooth may need to be filled or restored: decay
and chipping are two common ones. No matter which material is chosen,
the procedure is almost the same. After the area has been anesthetized
(usually by a numbing injection), the tooth is “prepared” by removing
decay and making it ready for the restoration. Next, the filling
material is placed directly into the tooth. Once it has securely bonded
to the tooth structure, the process is essentially complete.


Now,
here's the difference: In order to achieve a good structural bond with a
traditional amalgam filling, it is often necessary to shape the tooth
by making a series of “undercuts” that help hold the material in place.
This means that some healthy tooth material must be removed, leaving
less of the tooth's structure intact. In time, the structurally-weakened
tooth can be prone to cracking.


But composite resin fillings
don't require undercutting to make a strong union — instead, they form
an intimate physical and mechanical bond directly to the prepared tooth.
This more conservative treatment may ultimately lead to a better and
longer-lasting restoration.


When Can Tooth-Colored Fillings Be Used?

Composite
resins are generally appropriate for small to moderate-sized
restorations — which encompass the most common types of fillings. They
are durable, fracture-resistant, and able to withstand chewing pressure.
Depending on how much of the tooth needs restoration, the procedure may
be accomplished in just one visit. Alternatively, if a large volume of
tooth material must be replaced, a part may be fabricated outside the
mouth and later bonded to the tooth.


Whatever the situation, the
best way to determine whether tooth-colored fillings are right for you
is to come in and consult with us. We can explain the appropriate
options and help you select the best way to proceed with treatment.
Either way, you'll be able to achieve — and keep — a healthy-looking
smile.


How long do Porcelain Fillings last?

Porcelain
fillings are the longest lasting dental filling option available in
current restorative dentistry. With proper care and dental hygiene, a
porcelain filling can last for over 30 years.


Call the Arlington dentist today at (781) 648-0279 and make an appointment for a
Tooth-colored Restorations dental consultation.  We also serve other
nearby communities like Belmont, Cambridge, Lexington, Medford,
Somerville
, Watertown, and Winchester.