How Ful-‘filling’ Is Your Smile?

If you have never had a cavity, congratulations. You are in a special group of people.

Most of us — around 92 percent, according to the National Institutes of Health — will have at least one cavity in our lives. And many of that group will have more than one cavity.

When and if that time comes, where will you go to get your tooth filled? If you live in or near Kennewick, WA, you can come to Marineland Dental Care.

We offer a couple kinds of dental fillings, including white fillings to restore the function and form of your teeth.

The Right Fit

Cavities are the result of tooth decay. When bacteria eat into your tooth, they create holes that can weaken your teeth and cause them to develop dark spots.

They are not good for your smile or your oral health.

Fortunately, treating cavities is a relatively simple procedure. In our practice, we use air abrasion to remove the decay from your tooth. Once it has been removed we can give you a dental filling.

The material we use for your filling — gold or a composite resin — will be up to you. Both of these fillings can accomplish two things. First, they can restore the shape of your tooth. Second, they can protect that part of your tooth from further decay.

Either option will work for this purpose.

But which one is right for you?

Gold has been used for a long time to fill cavities. Gold is durable, and on average, it often does last longer than other kinds of fillings. It’s also considerably more expensive.

After all, you would be putting gold in your teeth to do this.

Some people don’t mind the gold in the smile, while other people feel the gold filling can become a distraction since the metal stands out from their teeth.

With white fillings, we use a composite resin. This resin is made to match the color of your teeth. When it is placed, it will harden and blend in more smoothly. This makes it discreet and may keep other people from knowing that you had a cavity at all.

The Inevitable Replacement Problem

At this time, no one has developed a permanent filling. It’s true that some can last for several years before they need to be replaced, but don’t look for a lifetime guarantee on fillings anytime soon.

Why do fillings need to be replaced? Here are a few reasons:

  • Fillings can chip. Fillings can restore the function of a tooth that was damaged by a cavity, but filling materials are not the same as teeth.

Over time, as you eat and drink, these can and do take a toll on your fillings. As pieces chip off, you may be exposing your tooth to bacteria in a place where you can’t clean it by brushing or flossing.

  • Fillings can crack. This is another potential problem with fillings. Over time, they can develop cracks. Since it can be difficult to see how deep those cracks go, you may not know if your tooth is exposed at the bottom of that crack.

This is no time to take chances. It is time to replace the filling.

  • Fillings can become loose. This can happen with any filling, but metals like gold can expand and contract as temperatures change. The filling may separate from the tooth or fall out completely. If this happens, get it replaced as soon as possible.
  • You want a different kind of filling.

This is more of a cosmetic reason, but it is a valid reason nonetheless. If you have a metallic filling, it may make you self-conscious about your smile. Indeed, the metallic gleam is practically a notice to anyone who sees your smile that you once had a cavity.

With a tooth-colored filling, you may start to feel more comfortable talking to people and smiling for photos. Where a gold filling calls attention to a former cavity, a white filling camouflages it.

Are You Due For A “Refill?”

If you have had your current filling for a while, we can examine it when you visit us for a routine cleaning and examination.

If you have noticed one of the problems we mentioned above or you just want to make a cosmetic change, make plans to visit Marineland Dental Care in Kennewick, WA. Our dentist can answer your questions about our dental filling materials.

To schedule an appointment, fill out our online form or call 509-591-0515.

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