Harlow Dental Family & Cosmetic Dentistry
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girl getting tooth-colored fillings in charlotte nc

What You Should Know about Tooth-Colored Fillings

July 12, 2022
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Posted By: Harlow Dental Team
dentist in charlotte nc

Tooth-colored fillings in Charlotte, NC, are shaded to match your natural enamel. This means it’s unlikely anyone will notice you’ve had a cavity. Additionally, tooth-colored fillings effectively seal a tooth after it has been treated for decay.

What Is a Dental Cavity?

A dental cavity is an area of decay on your tooth that needs to be treated by the dentist. There are several reasons you develop tooth decay, and cavities are not just for children.

Cavity culprits include:

  • Poor oral hygiene or skipping brushing and flossing sessions
  • Lack of dental care or skipping twice-yearly exams and teeth cleanings
  • Smoking or tobacco use in all forms
  • Injury to the tooth or bruxism (grinding and clenching)
  • A diet high in sugar and acidity

If you have a cavity, you may not have symptoms. But sometimes, you will notice a spot on your tooth or sensitivity. 

How Is a Cavity Treated?

We treat cavities by anesthetizing the area around the decayed tooth. Then, your Charlotte, NC, dentist gently removes the bad bits, creating clean margins to ensure the cavity is gone. Next, we repair the tooth with an aesthetically-pleasing tooth-colored filling.

What Is a Tooth-Colored Filling?

A tooth-colored filling—also called a composite filling—is made of silica, plastic, and harmless glass particles. When used together, they mimic tooth enamel by offering a similar coating and are sturdy and aesthetically pleasing.

Composite resin is a soft and malleable material when applied to the prepared tooth. The material allows your dentist to fill a cavity in even layers or spread the material in a way that protects your tooth.

After correctly placing the filling, your dentist uses a special curing light to harden the material before polishing the composite to a natural-looking shine.

4 Benefits of Tooth-Colored Fillings Compared to Silver Amalgam

#1 Tooth-Colored Fillings are Cosmetically Appealing

If you have a cavity, it’s best to have it treated with an option that doesn’t draw attention to itself. Unlike silver amalgam, tooth-colored fillings are virtually indistinguishable from your natural enamel.

#2 Tooth-Colored Fillings React Like Tooth Enamel

Silver fillings tend to expand and contract when exposed to hot or cold temperatures. Tooth-colored fillings, on the other hand, don’t react but continue to behave like part of your tooth’s enamel.

#3 Tooth-Colored Fillings Are Mercury-Free

The mercury contained in amalgam fillings has been deemed safe. However, some people are sensitive to mercury or prefer not to have it in their dental restorations. Composite fillings do not contain mercury.

#4 Tooth-Colored Fillings Can Be Part of Cosmetic Dentistry

Silver fillings serve a specific role: closing a decay-treated tooth. But tooth-colored fillings can work in an aesthetic function in addition to treating decay. In fact, some patients have their older silver fillings removed in favor of our tooth-colored option. And composite can also be used in a cosmetic treatment called dental bonding.

Dental Bonding in Charlotte, NC Covers Tooth Flaws Affordably with Composite

Because composite resin is soft and malleable, your dentist can use it to conceal cosmetic tooth flaws. By applying and shaping the material in layers and allowing it to harden with our special light, we can camouflage the following:

  • Tooth discoloration
  • Tooth chips
  • Root exposure
  • Tooth shape abnormalities
  • Small gaps between teeth

Dental bonding is an affordable standalone treatment, or you can incorporate it into a smile makeover that includes other restorations and treatments.

tooth-colored fillings in charlotte ncLowering Your Cavity Risks

The only thing better than tooth-colored fillings to treat tooth decay is no cavities! For best results, we recommend:

  • Visiting your dentist every six months for teeth cleanings and dental exams
  • Brushing and flossing after every meal or at least twice daily
  • Reporting oral health changes to our team promptly
  • Avoiding or reducing sugary and acidic foods and drinks
  • Quitting tobacco in all forms, including vaping
  • Talking to your dentist if you grind and clench your teeth

Your efforts and your dentist’s intervention promote a healthy smile for life.

Contact Your Dentist in Charlotte, NC

If it’s time for your dental checkup and teeth cleaning, or if you’re looking for a dental home in our area, we encourage you to contact a dental team member today to get started.

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