Boulder Dentist Serving Denver, Ft. Collins & Nearby Areas in Colorado
Children and adults can both fall prey to tooth decay, requiring dental work to replace cavities with fillings. In the past, these fillings were typically silver amalgam (metal) or cast gold. Metal fillings (and sometimes gold) are still used today, but white fillings that match the shade of your teeth are increasingly popular for cosmetic, functional, and health reasons. Our family dentist in Boulder typically recommends the tooth-colored option over its unsightly counterpart, particularly if your cavity is located in your front teeth.
If you think you might have a cavity or it’s time for one of your bi-annual dental exams, please contact Adler Advanced Dentistry in Boulder today at 303-449-1119 to schedule your appointment. Dr. Adler and our skilled staff serve surrounding Colorado areas including Denver and Ft. Collins.
Cavities are the most common dental problem, and a shocking 92 percent of those between ages 20 and 64 have treated cavities in their adult teeth. White fillings can address and repair dental cavities caused by tooth decay and restore dental health without unsightly metal fillings.
The Importance of Treating Cavities
You can avoid developing cavities by sticking to a good, daily dental hygiene regimen, which needs to include brushing twice a day, flossing, and rinsing between meals. Those habits along with avoiding sugary snacks and drinks will help you avoid gum disease and tooth decay, but if you develop a cavity, it must be addressed as soon as possible to ensure a healthy mouth and prevent dental emergencies.
Untreated tooth decay can wreak havoc on your mouth and may even make you more susceptible to health conditions that impact your overall body such as heart disease and diabetes because gum disease can get worse and release bacteria into your bloodstream. The tooth with the cavity can cause moderate to severe pain and lead to broken teeth or tooth abscesses. By addressing the tooth decay when it develops, you can stop further tooth, gum, and bone damage. It’s also much more difficult to treat these tooth problems than your typical cavity.
What Are Tooth-Colored Fillings?
Tooth-colored fillings are also known as white fillings. They are made of a mixture of glass or quartz filler called composite resin. These fillings are used more often than any of the alternatives.
Composite fillings are durable enough to withstand the daily pressure of chewing and resist fractures. That makes them a good option for repairing cavities on both the front and back teeth.
Who Is an Ideal Candidate for White Fillings?
Most patients who have cavities are good candidates for white fillings. An in-person evaluation is the only way to determine if they will work for you. However, they might be a good choice if:
- You want your fillings to look as natural as possible
- You want to avoid unsightly metal dental work
- You are looking for a filling material without mercury
- You have small to medium size cavities
- You have enough healthy tooth structure to support the filling
What Are The Benefits Of White Fillings?
The most significant advantage of white fillings is that they’re made to match the shade of your surrounding teeth, so they seamlessly blend in with your smile. Metal fillings do no such thing but are still durable and practical. Other benefits of tooth-colored fillings include:
- Natural appearance
- Contains no mercury
- Long-lasting bond to tooth enamel
- Less risk of cracking because the material doesn’t expand and contract
- Preserves more of the tooth structure than amalgam fillings
White fillings last more than five years on average, which varies based on the location of the cavity and the pressure of your bite. If you already have unsightly silver sparkling when you smile, our Boulder dentist can switch your metal fillings out for the tooth-colored alternative. This newer, effective option is made of a composite resin which involves plastic and ceramic along with a setting ingredient to bond the material to your tooth. Metal fillings are created using silver, copper, tin, and mercury elements.
While the mercury contained in silver fillings is minimal, it still concerns many of our patients, which makes the offer of tooth-colored fillings that contain no potentially toxic ingredients more appealing. Porcelain veneers and cosmetic bonding are also options which can alter the size and shape of your tooth to improve your overall smile. The FDA states that the silver amalgam contained in these fillings is safe to use, but it doesn’t change the fact that low levels of mercury vapor are released in your mouth and inhaled.
What Happens During the White Filling Procedure?
Fillings are a quick and straightforward dental procedure. First, our dentist will numb the tooth and the surrounding gums. Sedation can also be used to make the experience more pleasant.
Then it is time to remove the decayed area of the tooth. This is often done using a dental drill. While this step can be intimidating for some patients, it usually does not cause any discomfort.
The tooth must be kept clean and dry while the composite resin is applied. Our dentist will use a special light to harden the filling material before polishing it. Finally, your bite will be checked.
What Is Recovery And Aftercare Like For Tooth-Colored Fillings?
Dental fillings do not require downtime. You can usually return to your normal routine right away. However, you should avoid eating or drinking anything until the numbing medication wears off. Otherwise, you run the risk of biting the inside of your cheek or your tongue without knowing it.
Some patients experience minor soreness or discomfort after getting a dental filling. It is temporary and can typically be managed by taking over-the-counter pain medication.
How Many Dental Fillings Can I Get?
You can get as many fillings as needed to repair and protect your teeth. It is possible to have multiple fillings on a single tooth. You can also replace your fillings if they become damaged.
Keep in mind that the fewer fillings you need during your lifetime, the better it is for your teeth. Preventative steps like brushing your teeth and visiting the dentist can reduce your cavity risk.
How Do I Maintain Tooth-Colored Fillings?
Tooth-colored fillings are durable. However, you need to look after them to keep them in good shape. It is also important to protect the health of your teeth supporting the composite fillings.
Here are some care tips for people with white fillings:
- Brush twice a day
- Floss once a day
- Eat a balanced diet
- Avoid sugary foods and drinks
- Schedule regular dental checkups