Protect Your Tooth From Cavities
Even a small cavity can put your entire smile at risk if not treated. At Brown & Baran Family Dentistry, our Wilmington and Seaford general dentists, Dr. Paul E. Brown and Dr. Chris S. Baran, can bring your teeth back to top health with tooth-colored composite fillings. Our fillings are modern solutions designed to blend with the rest of your smile’s natural shade and color.
Learn how our restorative dentists can help enhance your smile while protecting your oral health. Our office also serves patients in Pike Creek, Marshallton, and Stanton, DE. Call our Wilmington, DE office at (302) 999-7600 or our Seaford, DE office at (302) 536-7589 to learn more about this revolutionary treatment!
What Are Tooth-Colored Fillings?
A tooth-colored filling is a highly advanced alternative to silver (amalgam) fillings used to repair teeth affected by bacteria, cavities, and minor trauma. Although composite fillings need to be replaced, they can last for 12 to 15 years before needing replacement.
The Benefits of Tooth-Colored Fillings
Most patients think composite fillings are only used for cavities, but that’s not the case. In fact, composite dental fillings offer several distinct advantages over traditional amalgam fillings:
- Natural Appearance: Unlike silver fillings, composite fillings are designed to match the natural shade and color of your teeth, making them virtually indistinguishable.
- Conservation of Tooth Structure: Composite fillings bond directly to the tooth, allowing for a more conservative restoration. This means that less healthy tooth structure needs to be removed compared to amalgam fillings.
- Reduced Sensitivity: Composite fillings are less sensitive to temperature changes than amalgam fillings, providing a more comfortable experience for many patients.
- Preventing Decay and Infection: In addition to their aesthetic and structural benefits, tooth-colored fillings also act as a protective barrier against further decay. By sealing the affected area, they hinder the progression of tooth decay and prevent potential infections.
- Versatility: They’re not only used for cavities but can also repair minor cracks and small holes or restore worn or eroded teeth.
Are Tooth-Colored Fillings Right for You?
Determining whether tooth-colored fillings are the right choice for your dental needs involves considering various factors, including:
- Aesthetic Concerns: If you’re looking for a filling that blends seamlessly with your natural teeth, tooth-colored fillings are an excellent option.
- Allergies or Sensitivities: Some individuals may have allergies or sensitivities to metals present in amalgam fillings, making composite fillings a safer alternative.
- Size and Location of the Restoration: Composite fillings are suitable for small to medium-sized restorations. Our dentists will advise you on the best choice based on the specific location and size of the cavity.
The Dental Fillings Process
The process of receiving a tooth-colored filling is a straightforward and efficient procedure that can typically be completed in a single appointment at our Wilmington or Seaford, DE office.
The process begins with a thorough examination by our dentists. They’ll assess the affected tooth, evaluating the extent of decay or damage to determine if a filling is the appropriate treatment.
Anesthesia (if necessary)
Depending on the sensitivity of the tooth and the extent of the procedure, your dentist may administer a local anesthetic to ensure your comfort throughout the process.
Decay Removal and Preparation
The next step involves the removal of any decayed or damaged portions of the tooth. Using specialized dental instruments, your dentist will carefully and precisely remove the affected areas, leaving behind a healthy tooth structure.
Cleaning and Etching
Once the decay is removed, we’ll thoroughly clean the tooth to ensure optimal bonding of the composite resin material. In some cases, we may apply a mild etching solution to enhance the bond between the filling and the tooth.
Layered Application of Composite Material
The tooth-colored composite material is applied in layers. We’ll carefully place each layer and harden them using a special curing light. This process continues until we achieve the desired shape and size of the filling.
Shaping and Polishing
After the composite material has been built up to restore the tooth, our dentist will shape and contour it to match the natural anatomy of your tooth. This step ensures a comfortable bite and a seamless appearance.
Final Checks and Bite Assessment
Your dentist will conduct final checks to ensure the filling fits properly and feels comfortable. They may ask you to bite down to ensure that your teeth align naturally with the new restoration.
You’ll receive instructions on post-operative care. It’s typically recommended to avoid eating or drinking for at least 30 minutes to allow the filling to fully set.
Caring for Your Composite Fillings
Proper care and maintenance can extend the lifespan of your fillings. Consider including the following advice:
- Regular Dental Check-ups: Schedule biannual check-ups at our Wilmington and Seaford dental offices for professional cleanings and routine examinations to ensure the longevity of your fillings.
- Oral Hygiene Practices: Maintain good oral hygiene habits, including brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily, and using mouthwash to reduce the risk of further cavities.
- Avoiding Excessive Pressure: Be mindful of habits like nail-biting or using teeth to open packages, as they can put unnecessary pressure on the fillings.
Frequently Asked Questions
Tooth-colored fillings usually last for up to 10 to 15 years with proper care. This includes brushing your teeth at least twice daily, flossing daily, rinsing after meals using mouthwash, and scheduling biannual visits with your dentist. If your filling ever needs to be replaced, the overall process is relatively simple and can be completed in one appointment.
Not at all! Dental fillings are designed with your tooth’s shape in mind. Your dentist will carefully mold the shape of your tooth-colored filling and smooth it out to ensure it blends seamlessly with your overall smile. After your procedure, you’ll be asked to bite down so that your teeth still feel normal while the filling is in place. Your dentist will make changes if necessary.
It’s important to contact your dentist as soon as possible if your dental filling sustains damage. Since your office is familiar with your dental history and unique dental needs, they can replace your filling and restore the functionality of your tooth. Don’t try to repair your filling by yourself, as this can potentially cause even more damage to your smile’s overall health.
Most insurance providers will either fully cover or pay for a portion of your tooth-colored filling since it’s considered a medically necessary procedure. The best way to know your benefits and coverage is to contact your carrier for a more accurate understanding. Your dentist should be able to help you with reviewing your insurance and provide you with financial options.
Maintain Your Beautiful Smile With Fillings
Dental fillings aren’t just used for cavities. At Brown & Baran Family Dentistry, our dentists use tooth-colored fillings to solve a variety of dental issues including cracks, worn-out teeth, damage caused by injury, and more. Learn how our dental professionals can help transform your smile’s health and appearance with customized fillings.
Contact us by calling either our Wilmington, DE office at (302) 999-7600 or our Seaford, DE practice at (302) 536-7589 to schedule your appointment today.