Tooth-Colored Fillings in Steele Creek
Even with the most diligent brushing and flossing, cavities, also known as dental caries, are sometimes just inevitable.
Chances are, if you are like most people, you will need a filling at least once in your life to prevent a cavity from growing bigger and getting worse.
Tooth-colored fillings, also called composite fillings, are now available for dental caries. This type of filling is not only made to match the color of your tooth—so they are virtually undetectable—but they are durable and fracture-resistant as well.
Have a Cavity? Call Us for a Dental Appointment
If you have a tooth that you think might have a cavity, see Dr. H. Justin Harlow of Harlow Dental at Steele Creek to find out more about tooth-colored fillings—and to protect the health of your tooth.
- What are tooth-colored fillings?
- What are the benefits of tooth-colored fillings?
- How do cavities form?
- How does my dentist diagnose a cavity?
- What is the process for getting a filling?
- How can I have a cavity if my tooth doesn’t hurt?
- What’s the best way to take care of my fillings?
- How do I know if my fillings need to be replaced?
- Should I replace my silver metal fillings?
- What can I do to prevent cavities?
What are tooth-colored fillings?
Made of microscopic glass or quartz particles, these resin fillings have one significant advantage: They match the color of the tooth that we're filling and blend in so well as to be practically invisible. Even with your head thrown back in the most enthusiastic belly laugh that reveals all of your teeth, your filling will be undetectable. Composite fillings match your natural teeth that closely!
Another great thing about composite fillings is that they are excellent for filling cavities that occur in your front teeth because they blend in so seamlessly with your other teeth. The composite resin material is also useful for fixing broken or chipped teeth and a cosmetic procedure called dental bonding.
What are the benefits of tooth-colored fillings?
There are additional benefits to tooth-colored fillings as well, beyond aesthetics. For instance:
- Composite fillings do not expand and contract as much as amalgam fillings when they come into contact with hot or cold liquids, lessening the risk of fracture.
- Because we can remove less tooth structure to place the filling, preparation beforehand is quick and easy and preserves more of your own natural healthy tooth structure.
How do cavities form?
Throughout your day, a sticky biofilm called plaque builds up on your teeth. You can easily remove plaque when you brush and floss, but if it sits on your teeth, you can begin the process of developing a cavity in that tooth.
Tooth enamel starts to get eaten away by acids produced by the bacteria in the plaque. Once the damage reaches the inner layer of the tooth, decay progression goes much quicker, and you'll experience sensitivity or pain because the pulp of the tooth is infected.
It's crucial to visit your Charlotte, NC dentist every six months for dental exams and cleanings. These appointments help keep your smile healthy and allow us to detect tooth decay long before it causes you any discomfort.
How does my dentist diagnose a cavity?
Your Charlotte dentist will check for tooth decay by visually examining your teeth. If you have decay, an x-ray will reveal a small shadow in the area, which is useful for identifying cavities between teeth. An intraoral camera can show a high-definition picture of the tooth so you can see for yourself that decay is present.
It’s best to get those small cavities filled before they progress further. Give us a call to schedule a dental exam so we can keep your smile healthy!
What is the process for getting a filling?
Our top Charlotte dentist examines your teeth thoroughly and may take digital x-rays if a cavity is suspected.
The filling process begins with clearing away the decayed area of your tooth to make room for your new tooth-colored filling. From there, we use resin to seal the tooth and build up a tooth-complimenting shape with this resin.
Remember, this resin will match your tooth color, and no one will even know you have a new filling!
How can I have a cavity if my tooth doesn’t hurt?
If you have a cavity, but you don’t feel anything, this is good news. Once you start feeling pain from tooth decay, the decay has reached the tender interior of your tooth, known as the pulp. In this case, you might need a root canal and a crown rather than just a filling.
Molars are full of pits and grooves that make it easy for plaque to settle in, so it is more common to develop cavities in the back teeth. Seeing Dr. Harlow at regular intervals allows him to find tooth decay that is developing without your knowledge. Please call us to schedule your next dental appointment.
What’s the best way to take care of my fillings?
You can care for your teeth filled with composite material just as you would your natural teeth. Practice proper home care with regular brushing and flossing. As always, visit your Charlotte, NC dentist twice each year for checkups and cleanings to ensure that your teeth and gums stay healthy.
Occasionally, patients will feel some tooth sensitivity in the area where we've placed a filling. This is nothing to worry about and will usually go away on its own over a short period. You can try a desensitizing toothpaste until the area calms down.
In the unlikely event that this issue does not resolve on its own, be sure to give us a call!
If you need a tooth filled, contact Harlow Family Dentistry. We can tell you more about the benefits of tooth-colored fillings. Make an appointment today!
How do I know if my fillings need to be replaced?
Just like most dental restorations, dental fillings do break down over time. However, every patient's situation is unique. Some tooth fillings can last for decades with soft diets and little to no acid or sugar intake, while others may need replacement every five to seven years. Diet, nutrition, and your home care routine all play an integral role in the longevity of your dental fillings in Charlotte, NC.
Fillings need replacement after they have been worn down by chewing hard foods, grinding and clenching, or if a cavity forms around one. The best way to know if you need a filling replaced is to make sure you visit Dr. Harlow for those regularly scheduled cleanings and exams every six months. It allows your Charlotte dentist to check on the condition of your fillings and each of your teeth for any issues that we need to address, which may include replacing old fillings.
Should I replace my silver metal fillings?
For decades, dental patients were stuck with silver-colored fillings to close up cavities. The latest in dental technologies have changed all that; today, you can get a tooth-colored filling at one of our Charlotte, NC dental offices to close your cavity and enhance your appearance.
Amalgam fillings were once the filling option of choice for most dentists. The dark gray metal material used was effective at preventing cavities from getting bigger, but the fillings were not very attractive.
Silver fillings tend to break down due to temperature changes in your mouth that cause them to expand and contract. Dr. Harlow would be happy to discuss your options for replacing metal fillings with more attractive tooth-colored composite fillings. Contact Harlow Dental at Steele Creek to learn more.
At Harlow Dental, we want you to be proud of your smile. That means no silver or metal to take away from your pearly whites.
What can I do to prevent cavities?
Some patients believe that only children get cavities, but cavities happen in every age group. The best way our Charlotte, NC patients can prevent cavities is by brushing and flossing at least twice per day or following every meal.
It’s also crucial to see your dentist regularly for dental cleanings and exams at least twice per year.
No matter how diligently you brush and floss at home, toothbrushes and floss cannot get rid of stubborn bacteria. Our skilled hygienist, however, has all the right tools and technologies to help you maintain a cavity-free smile. Finally, avoiding sugary drinks and sweets goes a long way toward preventing cavities.
If you have a cavity or suspect you might have a cavity—or if you haven’t had your six-month dental cleaning recently—contact our Charlotte, NC dental offices today. If you have questions about tooth-colored fillings or cavity prevention, get in touch with us soon.