Tooth decay is extremely common, affecting over 90 percent of the adult American population. Caused by bacteria that builds up on your teeth, these bacteria release acids that can start to work away at your dental enamel. Once this enamel is compromised, you can develop a dental cavity. One of the more common treatment options for tooth decay is dental fillings.
If left untreated, tooth decay can lead to complications like a severe toothache, an abscess, and loss of the tooth. One of the ways that we here at Carolina Smiles Family Dentistry can treat tooth decay in a patient’s mouth is with a tooth-colored filling, allowing them a strong and natural-looking restoration for their cavity.
What is a Tooth-Colored Filling?
In the past, when a patient had tooth decay, they had very limited options on how they could treat it. A common material that we used to use for tooth decay was called amalgam. This was a mixture of metals and usually consisted of silver, tin, and mercury. While amalgam is a relatively strong material, however, it had several pitfalls that made it an inferior choice for our patients.
Many patients do not like amalgam due to the mercury content in it. While mercury is considered safe in fillings, we understand your trepidation, which is why we offer tooth-colored fillings. Also, metal allergies made amalgam a challenge for some patients. Furthermore, amalgam expands and contracts with heat and cold, which can compromise the tooth and make it more brittle. They are also quite noticeable, which means we cannot place them on visible front teeth.
Conversely, tooth-colored fillings are natural-looking and have no metal or mercury in it. That makes it safe for patients with metal allergies. It also makes them a great choice for patients who have tooth decay on their front teeth. There are two main types of tooth-colored filling materials that we like to use.
One is called composite resin, which is made of a combination of glass or silica in a resin base and is a very good choice for front teeth. Because it can be fragile, we do not use it on your back teeth. For your back teeth, we prefer porcelain fillings. It is quite strong and durable and does not chip, and it will not damage your tooth like amalgam can.
Why We Prefer Tooth-Colored Fillings
Tooth-colored fillings have many advantages over amalgam fillings. One of the many benefits of tooth-colored fillings is that we do not have to remove as much of your tooth to place it. That allows us to preserve as much of your natural tooth as possible. We can also dye it to match your surrounding teeth, creating an attractive filling for you. In many cases, we can complete the filling in just one appointment, reducing discomfort for you and taking less time out of your schedule to complete the procedure.
Getting a cavity filled is never the highlight of your day, but you can trust that we will be gentle and careful when you are in our office. If you suspect that you may have tooth decay and you want to schedule an appointment with us here at Carolina Smiles Family Dentistry, or you simply want to learn more about the many benefits of tooth-colored fillings, please give us a call today at (803) 310-4707!