Tooth Colored Fillings
For the past 150 years, silver dental fillings have been the "gold standard" in dental offices. And until recently, there were no alternatives to having a mouthful of metal. Although amalgam works well as a tooth filling material, it tends to make people look as though they can pick up a satellite signal at any moment. And the larger the silver dental filling, the more noticeable it is.
Luckily, advancements in modern dentistry have given us new options for dental restorations. Tooth-colored dental fillings, a substitute for silver fillings, offer a natural-looking alternative to amalgam. And unlike silver dental fillings, white fillings can actually be structured to resemble real teeth!
Our office currently offers tooth-colored fillings as a dental restoration.
The New Standard
There are several types of tooth-colored fillings available:
Composite Fillings -- Also known as composite resin fillings, these are the most common of the tooth-colored dental fillings. Composite fillings mix resin with a glass or quartz filler to maintain their white color. Although relatively sturdy, composite resin doesn't quite match the strength of amalgam dental fillings and are used more frequently for small to medium cavities. Composite resin is also used when dental bonding the front teeth.
Porcelain Fillings -- Porcelain may be used as an alternative to composite dental fillings and is often used to create dental inlays, dental onlays and dental crowns.
Most of us have had at least one. Some of us have quite a few. So what makes cavities so persistent, keeping more children out of school than any other disease? Usually, the answer is simple: not enough brushing your teeth, flossing and visiting the dentist. Snacking on sweets and slurping sodas doesn't help either. But rather than feel guilty, get informed.
Q: What's the difference between tooth decay and tooth cavity?
A: Good question! Most people think tooth decay and tooth cavity are the same thing. But they're not. Tooth decay refers to a gradual process during which bacteria in the mouth produce acids that destroy the surfaces of teeth. Over time, tooth decay can erode enamel to the point that a hole, or cavity, forms.
Q: How do I know if I have cavities?
A: Cavities are one of the first things your dentist looks for during a regular dental exam. X-rays allow your dentist to diagnose whether you have dental cavities and how extensive they are. Sometimes a tooth cavity is visible to the naked eye; if you see black holes in your teeth, those could be signs. Another cavity red flag is a toothache or sensitivity to hot or cold food and drinks.
Q: How do dentists treat dental cavities?
A: Treatment depends on the size of the cavity and the degree of damage. Although many dental cavities are treated with fillings, onlays may be necessary to treat large cavities affecting the cusps of teeth, while cavities affecting the areas in between the cusps may be treated with inlays. In some cases, dental crowns are used to protect a tooth from further tooth cavity damage. Dental sealants are often applied to children's teeth as a preventative measure against cavities.
Still have questions about cavities or other dental problems? Dr. Cayetano will be happy to answer them during your next checkup.