Posts for tag: fillings
Cosmetic dentistry and restorative dentistry overlap. How can this be? Well, the tooth-colored filling is an excellent example of how smile aesthetics meet great oral health. Made of strong composite resin or porcelain, tooth-colored fillings meld both dental disciplines together in one great restoration. Your cosmetic dentist in Winter Park, FL, Dr. James Outlaw, recommends cosmetic fillings because of their ease of placement, strength and seamless beauty.
Do you need a filling?
You need a filling if your tooth has a cavity, or hole, in the hard outer layer called enamel. Oral bacteria caught in food residues between teeth and at the gum line cause this tooth decay as they secrete corrosive acids which penetrate enamel. Left untreated, cavities progress through inner tooth chambers.
Fortunately, your six-month check-ups at Outlaw Dental can detect decay at its earliest stages. Dr. Outlaw often sees decay on visual inspection of your teeth, but he also relies on digital X-ray imaging to uncover cavities in hidden areas of the mouth.
The filling procedure
Your cosmetic dentist in Winter Park, FL, prepares the tooth for a tooth-colored filling. When the tooth is ready, Dr. Outlaw uses a special etching liquid on the site. This mildly acidic solution helps the composite resin (glass plus acrylic) bond to the tooth enamel. He places the composite resin in layers and hardens each layer with a blue curing light. After he achieves the desired shape, he polishes the tooth to a natural-looking sheen.
Tooth-colored fillings which are made of porcelain take a different approach. These inlays or onlays are called partial crowns, and Dr. Outlaw places them in larger areas of decay or enamel breakdown. Oral impressions and detailed instructions tell the dental lab how to fabricate these restorations. Dr. Outlaw bonds them in place and cures the installation with a dental light.
The lifespan of cosmetic fillings
Expect several years from a white filling. Be sure to brush twice a day with a soft brush and fluoride toothpaste, and floss daily as the American Dental Association advises. See Dr. Outlaw twice a year. You'll receive a thorough hygienic cleaning to help prevent decay and gum disease, and your dentist will check on that filling to be sure all is well.
Don't wait to restore a cavity. Contact Outlaw Dental right away if you suspect you have a problem tooth, and enjoy the health benefits and natural appearance of a tooth-colored filling. Call our office for an appointment in Winter Park, FL, at (407) 671-6506.
With all the new tooth-colored fillings for cavities, it's easy to overlook metal amalgam. While this mainstay of dental care for over a century might not be as attractive as composite resins or glass and resin ionomers, it still has the advantage of strength and durability.
Amalgam is a stable metal alloy usually made up of silver, tin, copper and mercury. The metals are proportioned and mixed precisely to guard against “free” mercury molecules, which could pose a health hazard. The mixture is pliable at first, but then sets hard once molded into the prepared area of the tooth.
Besides strength, amalgam's other advantages include low cost, high resistance to wear and biocompatibility (not toxic to the body or allergy-producing). At the same time, it can require more tooth structure removal to accommodate a filling and cause higher sensitivity to temperature for a while after installation. Its main disadvantage, however, is appearance — it's now considered unacceptable from an aesthetic point of view to use it in visible areas like the front teeth.
Because of this, materials resembling natural tooth color are coming into vogue, especially as their strength improves. Still, dental amalgam continues to play a useful role, especially in less visible back teeth with higher chewing forces.
One past concern about dental amalgam is the inclusion of mercury in the alloy. As mentioned before, mercury is hazardous in a “free” form when not knit microscopically with other metals; as such it can emit a vapor that could enter the bloodstream and damage the nervous system. But after several studies by various organizations, the American Dental Association has concluded amalgam's precise mixture prevents the mercury from taking this form: although some vapor is given off during chewing it's far too low in concentration to pose any danger.
Dental amalgam continues to be an effective choice for fillings. Whether it's the right choice for you will depend on the type and location of a tooth to be filled, and whether durability is a higher concern than appearance. If we do recommend an amalgam filling, you can be assured it's a safe and lasting choice.
If you would like more information on your choices for dental fillings, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Silver Fillings — Safe or Unsafe?”