Experience the advantages of lifelike composite fillings that promote oral health in Carrollton, TX
By Dr. Adnan Saleem
Hebron Smiles combines convenience and comfort with technologies based on the latest advances in dentistry. The way Dr. Adnan Saleem repairs damaged teeth complements this pleasant, advanced approach. Dr. Saleem doesn’t place silver fillings. While silver in color, these conventional fillings are an amalgam of silver, tin, copper, zinc, and mercury. Composite fillings are metal- and mercury-free. There are many advantages of composite fillings in Carrollton, TX at the Hebron Smiles office, versus silver amalgam fillings still placed at other dentists’ offices.
To understand the advantages is to understand fillings as a treatment in general. You may need a filling to repair a cavity. When bacteria naturally present in the mouth mix with sugars in beverages and foods, acids form that wear away at the tooth from the outside in. The outermost part of your tooth, or enamel, is the strongest substance in the human body – even stronger than bone. Yet, it’s not indestructible. And, unlike a broken bone that can heal on its own, once natural enamel is gone, it’s gone for good because it doesn’t contain living cells.
The process of wear and tear is known as enamel erosion. As your enamel erodes, you may notice:
Cracks and chips
Indented cups on the tooth’s surface
Teeth that are eroded are at increased risk of developing cavities. As the main entry point for decay, enamel once penetrated allows bacteria to move deeper under the tooth’s surface. Cavities are small holes on the tooth’s surface, roots, and around the edges of existing fillings. A cavity may form on the tooth root due to chronic aggressive brushing, which causes gums to recede. Recurrent cavities form when food debris and bacteria are trapped in the rough edges of a filling or when the filling breaks.
Small cavities may not cause problems. Without treatment, cavities only get larger. During regular check-ups and cleanings, Dr. Saleem and the staff check for areas of potential enamel wear and decay. Existing fillings and other types of restorations are also examined, and may need to be repaired or replaced. The larger the filling or more advanced the decay, generally the more extensive and costly the restorative care will be.
Repair with fillings
Fillings are designed to literally fill in the cavity. For more than 150 years, dentists have used fillings made from an amalgam of metals. Mercury-containing fillings are placed in the cavity after anesthetic numbs the area around the tooth, and after decay is drilled away. Elemental or metallic mercury is the most prominent substance in amalgam, accounting for 4o to 50 percent of each filling.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services lists mercury in the registry on toxic substances. Metal-free fillings are a healthy alternative to amalgam, as well as a lifelike and attractive alternative to fillings that are silver-colored. The process of getting a metal-free or composite filling is less invasive; only minimal drilling is required.
Repair with composite
Composite fillings have many names – plastic, white, tooth-colored. They all refer to the same thing: A dental restoration made with plastic and powdered glass. The dental resin is pliable, and matched to your teeth for the most natural appearance. Finely-ground glass particles give the composite luminous properties, replicating how light reflects off of a natural tooth. If it’s determined a filling is best to restore your tooth’s strength and appearance:
All existing decay is gently removed, usually with modest drilling.
A conditioning liquid is applied to open the pores in enamel.
A bonding agent is placed in the pores, facilitating the strongest bond between the tooth and dental material.
Putty-like composites are applied in very thin layers, and shaped and trimmed as needed.
A special type of light is directed at the layers, activating and hardening the resin.
Once the last layer is hardened, a comfortable bite (the relationship between your upper and lower teeth) is confirmed.
Adjustments are made and the tooth is polished – it looks and feels like natural tooth structure!
Reasons to love composite fillings
Mercury-free fillings are a safe and natural-looking alternative to silver-colored dental amalgam. Due to the bonding process, they’re strong enough to withstand bite forces – even on back teeth! Composites are conservative. The process retains as much healthy natural structure as possible, while minimizing the need for extensive drilling, numbing agents, and the risk of sensitivity. They’re also low-maintenance. Practice good oral hygiene and maintain regular check-ups at Hebron Smiles. Call (972) 388-3320 to schedule your appointment.