Tooth decay, aka cavities or dental caries, is nothing new. In fact, this is the most common chronic disease affecting children. 96% of all Americans will have at least one cavity during their lifetime. Covering a cavity with a silver (or amalgam) filling used to be the best solution. Today, there is a better option. Made out of durable, composite resin, tooth-colored dental fillings look just like your natural tooth enamel, make your teeth less likely to fracture, and can last for years and years.
When Do I Need a Filling?
In most cases, you will need a filling if you have a cavity. These cavities occur when the acids from what you eat and drink combine with the bacteria naturally present in your mouth. The combination creates biofilm, the sticky substance that covers your teeth throughout the day. When not removed with proper brushing and flossing, this biofilm weakens the tooth enamel and results in a cavity.
The process results in both good and bad news. The bad news first. Cavities are tough to detect when they are small. There are few noticeable side effects until they become a bigger, more expensive and painful problem.
The good news is these small cavities can be found during regular dentist visits and can be easily fixed- if found when small.
Tooth-Colored Fillings vs. Silver Fillings
If you do have a cavity, tooth-colored filling are the standard of care. They have become the preferred option for dentists and patients alike because of the significant advantages compared to the metal alternative.
Some of the most apparent differences between the two include:
- Silver fillings are very noticeable, where composite resin can be shaded to precisely match the color of your surrounding tooth enamel.
- Tooth-colored fillings keep more of your natural tooth structure intact. Silver fillings require the removal of more healthy tooth enamel, which weakens the tooth overall.
- Composite resin bonds securely with the tooth enamel.
- Silver fillings are more sensitive to heat and cold, which causes expansions and contractions that can weaken the tooth enamel.
Of course, the best way to handle a cavity is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. As we know, tooth decay is almost always preventable with proper oral hygiene and routine visits to the dentist. To keep your and your family’s smiles safe from cavities, keep the following tips in mind:
- Brush your teeth for two minutes, twice a day
- Floss between teeth daily
- Use a fluoride toothpaste to strengthen tooth enamel
- Maintain a balanced, nutritious, low-sugar diet
- Visit your dentist twice-annually for a checkup and cleaning
With the last point in mind… when was your last visit to your dentist? If it’s been more than six months, you are overdue. It is time to book a visit and make sure your smile stays healthy and protected from cavities!
About The Author
Drs. John and Sandi Ruocco offer high-quality, comprehensive dental care from the comfort of their state-of-the-art dental practice. To learn more or to schedule an appointment with them contact the office by calling 704-843-2880 today or visit our website at https://www.ruoccodental.com!