We work hard to prevent cavities from happening, but occasionally you may still get one. If this happens, we don’t think you should have to spend the rest of your life with gray markings in your teeth. Teeth-colored composite fillings successfully and effectively fill cavities and blend in so perfectly with the natural shade of your teeth that they are virtually invisible.
What Are Tooth-Colored Fillings?
Tooth-colored fillings are made up of a composite resin. Unlike amalgam (or silver) fillings, composite fillings don’t contain any metal – or any mercury. The filling is applied to the cavity in layers and carefully cured. Composite fillings actually bond with the surface of your tooth. This helps to prevent further cavities from developing underneath the filling.
Unlike metal fillings, composite fillings don’t expand and contract because of temperature changes. They also require less tooth structure to be removed before they are placed.
For all of these reasons, we love tooth-colored fillings!
What About the Mercury in Amalgam Fillings?
There’s been a lot of talk lately about the mercury found in amalgam fillings, and many patients come to us concerned about the metal fillings they already have.
Both the U.S. Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have conducted several studies, and both agencies determined that the mercury in dental fillings is safe. Neither agency found any evidence that linked adverse health effects to dental fillings.
If you are still not comfortable with your metal fillings, we can discuss removing them and replacing them with composite fillings, but in general, we’d prefer not to disturb them unless they are leaking, loose, or broken.
How Did I Get a Cavity?
You brush and floss just like you’re supposed to and see us regularly for your scheduled examinations and cleanings. Rest assured, you’re doing the right thing! You’re still significantly decreasing your risk of developing cavities.
The medical name for cavities is “dental caries,” and it’s actually a disease caused by bacteria that can be passed from person to person. You may have known people who, despite having excellent hygiene habits, were still prone to cavities.
The bacteria that cause cavities are easily spread from family member to family member, and they’re incredibly common. These bacteria feed off of sugar, and unfortunately, the typical American diet is very high in sugar. Additionally, many people filter their tap water or drink bottled water to avoid chemicals like chlorine. This means that the water they’re drinking doesn’t contain fluoride, which has been shown to strengthen the enamel of teeth and protect them from cavities.
In addition to twice-daily brushing and flossing before bed every night, follow these tips to further increase your chances of resisting cavities:
- Talk to one of our hygienists about good brushing and flossing technique. We can give you a hands-on demonstration if you would like.
- Replace your toothbrush regularly (about every three months) since bacteria can live on it.
- Avoid sugar when you can. If you do enjoy a sugary treat, brush your teeth as soon as possible afterwards, or at the very least, rinse your mouth with water.
- Eat plenty of calcium-rich foods such as low-fat dairy, tofu, almonds, spinach, and kale to help your teeth replenish their calcium stores and strengthen your enamel.
Call our office today to schedule your examination and cleaning and help keep cavities to an absolute minimum!