Dental Fillings & Restoration in Harrisburg, NC
Cavities are a common reason to head to the dentist: 90% of Americans aged 20 and older have had a cavity. Dental fillings are used to treat cavities and prevent further decay and infection. Dr. David P. Ney, DDS, uses tooth-colored fillings, also called composite fillings, to repair decayed, cracked, or fractured teeth.
While silver (amalgam) fillings have been the cornerstone treatment option in dental offices for years, tooth-colored (composite) fillings have risen in popularity, and for good reason: they look more natural and come with significant benefits that make them a great option for many patients.
What Is A Composite Filling?
When decay is removed from a tooth, a gap is left in its place. This gap needs to be filled to treat and protect the tooth. Dental fillings are used for this purpose.
Today, composite fillings are a popular material used to restore the function and shape of your tooth.
The material is a tooth-colored mixture of resin and powdered glass quartz, silica, or other ceramic fillers. In addition to mending cavities, composite resin material can be used to repair cracked, chipped, or fractured teeth.
Composite fillings are used for small to medium cavities. For larger cavities, Dr. Ney may suggest dental crowns, inlays, or onlays to correct the tooth.
Why Do You Need Dental Fillings?
Cavities can affect anyone, but they typically develop from bacteria buildup, excessive sugar consumption, smoking, and poor dental hygiene. Some signs of a cavity include toothache, sensitivity to hot or cold foods or drinks, bad breath or an unpleasant taste, bleeding gums, painful bite, or visible holes in the tooth.
If you suspect that you or a loved one have a cavity, it’s best to make an appointment with Dr. Ney so he can examine your teeth.
Cavities are one of the greatest unmet dental needs; if ignored, they can lead to bigger and more expensive dental problems. Left untreated, cavities can grow, leading to pain or infection that interferes with eating and speaking. Failing to have your cavity treated can lead to the development of gum disease. When bacteria spread from the tooth to the gums, the gums become inflamed and bleed, especially as you brush your teeth. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that can worsen, progressing to a more advanced gum disease called periodontitis. Bacteria can also form a tooth abscess, a pocket of pus that damages the tissues in your mouth. In severe cases, the infection can spread to other areas of your body, leading to serious complications.
Dr. Ney can help prevent these and other dangers with dental fillings.
White Fillings vs. Silver Fillings
Silver fillings have been used in dentistry for decades due to their durability, affordability, and stain-resistant properties. Although the American Dental Association still considers them a reliable and effective option, they may not be suitable for all patients. The FDA does not recommend silver fillings for certain high-risk populations such as women who are pregnant or may become pregnant, nursing women, children younger than six, as well as people with pre-existing neurological disease, impaired kidney function, or allergies to mercury or other materials in silver fillings.
While silver fillings still have their place in dentistry, white dental fillings are becoming more popular due to their many advantages.
The Benefits of Composite Dental Fillings
- Aesthetically pleasing: Who doesn’t want their filling to be undetectable? Perhaps the most significant advantage of composite dental fillings is their natural look. Dr. Ney will match the composite resin to the shade of your teeth so that it blends in naturally. Composite fillings are especially useful for visible areas, like front teeth.
- No mercury or metal: Some people are allergic to or wary of the materials in silver fillings. Composite fillings are a safe alternative to amalgam fillings.
- Bonded directly to the tooth: Composite fillings preserve the integrity of your tooth, as they don’t require the same amount of tooth structure to be removed compared to silver fillings. Instead, tooth-colored fillings are bonded directly to the tooth in layers, providing strength and durability.
- Temperature resistant: Amalgam fillings are more vulnerable to temperature changes that can cause fractures and tooth pain. Conversely, the composite material is less sensitive to changes, meaning that it won’t break from expanding or contracting.
- Long-lasting: Composite dental fillings can last ten years with proper care techniques and routine six-month checkups.
- Versatile: Besides filling cavities, the composite resin material is used to treat cracked, chipped, or worn-down teeth.
The Dental Filling Procedure
The procedure for composite dental fillings takes just a single visit to Dr. Ney’s office. The only additional step for composite fillings is matching the shade to your natural teeth. Once this is done, local anesthesia will be used to numb the tooth and surrounding area so you won’t feel any pain during the procedure. How long it takes to prepare the tooth for the filling depends on the extent of the decay. Preparation involves cleaning the tooth by drilling into the enamel to remove the decay. Dr. Ney will shape and clean the tooth, freeing it from bacteria and debris.
Next, Dr. Ney will roughen your tooth with an acid gel to help the composite material bond securely to the tooth. The material is applied and bonded in layers. Each layer is cured individually with a special light that hardens and strengthens the composite resin. Finally, Dr. Ney will remove excess material and polish the tooth so it looks and feels natural.
The entire procedure, from start to finish, takes about an hour.
Aftercare for Your Composite Dental Fillings
After your procedure, your mouth may stay numb for several hours. Until the numbness subsides, avoid eating, as you may accidentally bite your tongue or cheek. Some patients experience sensitivity after getting a filling, but this will diminish in a week or two.
No dietary changes are needed once your filling is placed, but limiting sugary foods and drinks and practicing good oral hygiene can help prevent further decay. Following proper oral hygiene guidelines is also important: brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristle brush, floss daily, rinse with an antimicrobial mouthwash, and use a mouthguard if you grind your teeth at night.
Every six months, you should see Dr. Ney for a checkup and cleaning. He will evaluate the condition of your fillings and replace them if they have worn down from natural wear and tear.
Mini Implants Replace Severely Decayed Teeth
If your tooth is severely decayed, it can lead to infection. If root canal treatment does not remedy, tooth extraction may be needed. To replace your missing tooth, Dr. Ney may recommend mini dental implants, a revolutionary treatment option to replace missing teeth. Mini implants are durable titanium posts that screw into your jawbone. An artificial crown or other prosthetic appliance is then attached to the post to restore your smile. Mini implants don’t just replace your missing teeth; they also stop bacteria from accumulating in the gap and prevent bone loss that can result in facial collapse. If Dr. Ney recommends tooth extraction and you find that mini implants are right for you, there’s no need to stress. The minimally invasive procedure to place mini implants can be completed in a single day. Most patients recover in just 24-48 hours.
Close Cavities with Composite Dental Fillings
If you want a natural-looking treatment for cavities or imperfections, especially in areas where the filling would be visible, composite fillings are the answer.
An accomplished dentist with over 25 years of experience, Dr. David P. Ney provides comprehensive oral healthcare in Harrisburg, NC. Don’t wait to address your dental needs: contact us today to schedule your dental filling.