Tooth decay is the most common chronic illness facing people of all ages. About a third of all kindergarteners have tooth decay or fillings, which increases to 42% for children and adolescents. Adults have the highest incidence of tooth decay, with about 96% of all American adults having at least one cavity.
But tooth decay can be treated. Dental fillings remove damaged tooth material, repair the damaged tooth, and stop the progress of decay. Some fillings can even strengthen damaged teeth and extend the life of your tooth. We have cosmetic filling options that are more attractive, more functional, and healthier than metal amalgam fillings.
If you think you have tooth decay and need a filling in Pueblo, we invite you to consider our welcoming, friendly local dental practice. Please call (719) 545-1400 today for an appointment with a dentist at Advantage Dental Group.
How Fillings Protect Your Teeth
Some people think that dental fillings are just used to stop up the hole in the tooth. Although this is the basic function of a filling, the impacts of this on your teeth are much more widespread than you might imagine. They don’t just undo the damage done to your tooth, they can stop the process of decay and make your teeth healthier and more functional.
Tooth decay occurs when bacteria on your teeth consume sugars and other carbohydrates in your mouth. As a side effect, they excrete acid. Because the bacteria are clinging to the side of your tooth in a biofilm commonly described as plaque, this acid attack the tooth enamel. Enamel is very strong physically, but it’s chemically vulnerable to acids. As the acid dissolves your enamel, you will develop first demineralized areas on your teeth, then small holes, known as cavities.
Cavities aren’t just the product of tooth decay, they become sites where tooth decay can accelerate. In the small hole, oral bacteria can shelter from saliva, which can harm or even kill them. The small hole can also trap food particles, which allow the bacteria to continue producing acid long after you’ve finished eating. And the hole also becomes full of concentrated acid, speeding the process of decay.
Once a cavity develops, decay accelerates, but a filling stops that process. Some dental fillings can even restore strength to damaged teeth, making those teeth less likely to chip or crack.
Tooth-Colored Filling Options
In the past, fillings were made of metal, either gold or metal amalgam, a mix of metals that was about half mercury. But now we have nonmetal options that are more compatible with your teeth–they’re healthier and more attractive!
The most common type of tooth-colored filling is the composite filling, which is made of plastics with small particles of ceramic included for strength. This filling type can be made to match your natural teeth in color, and when they’re polished they look just like tooth enamel.
A more advanced type of filling is the ceramic inlay or onlay. This type of filling is made of an advanced ceramic that is precisely shaped to match your prepared tooth. Once cemented in place, this type of filling is the strongest available–as strong as or stronger than your natural teeth, which can help teeth weakened by decay. These fillings are also more resistant to staining, wear, and temperature changes.
Disadvantages of Metal Amalgam Fillings
Although metal amalgam fillings have been used for hundreds of years, they are not an ideal solution to tooth decay.
First, they are unattractive. They start out as highly visible silver fillings, but they can turn black in the mouth, making them look as bad as the cavities they filled.
Metal amalgam also has the problem that it expands and contracts with temperature changes faster than your tooth. When you drink cold beverages, this creates space around the filling that can become contaminated. And when you drink hot beverages, the filling gets too big for the cavity, so it pushes on your enamel, causing cracking, and on the pulp (nerve) causing pain.
And then there is the issue of mercury. Although the FDA and the ADA both assert that metal amalgam fillings are safe, we know that mercury is very toxic. We also know that mercury doesn’t stay in fillings–it can evaporate, seep, or be worn away–so the mercury concentrates in different parts of the body. Some countries have started banning mercury fillings for children and pregnant women due to these concerns.
For these reasons and more, we do not use metal amalgam fillings in our practice.
Get Fillings in Pueblo
Are you looking to fix your cavities in Pueblo? We offer tooth-colored dental fillings that are both attractive and healthy in a friendly, welcoming dental practice. Please call (719) 545-1400 today for an appointment with a dentist at Advantage Dental Group.