Dental Fillings in Gulfport, MS
If you ask patients over 50 about their dental fillings, they’ll likely tell you about the shiny silver metal placed in their teeth. However, over the decades, advanced dental materials that closely resemble natural tooth colors have become standard practice in many dental offices worldwide.
Silver fillings are still an effective American Dental Association–approved decayed tooth repair method — in fact, silver fillings have been used to treat cavities for more than 150 years.
But in recent years, dental offices, including the Centre for Smile Designs, have moved away from these materials and replaced them with a more aesthetically pleasing option: composite fillings. Dr. John Hopkins, DDS, only uses tooth-colored fillings to repair decay, cracks, or fractures in your teeth for a natural, beautiful result.
What Are Tooth-Colored Dental Fillings?
Dental fillings are used to restore function and shape to teeth that have been damaged by decay. Dr. Hopkins exclusively uses composite — tooth-colored — fillings to treat affected teeth. Only a single visit is needed to complete the procedure, and you will be numbed using a local anesthetic to minimize any discomfort you experience.
Composite fillings are made from resin-based materials and match your natural tooth color, making them ideal for cosmetic results. After Dr. Hopkins removes the decay, he bonds the material of these dental fillings to the remaining healthy tooth structure.
Silver vs. Tooth-Colored Dental Fillings
Metal and tooth-colored fillings share many similarities and are suitable for repairing cavities. Silver materials are more durable than composite fillings and generally more cost-effective. However, composite fillings are also affordable and can effectively handle the pressure from biting, chewing, and normal wear and tear.
Advantages of Composite Dental Fillings
Tooth-colored materials provide a safe and effective method for treating tooth decay. Composite dental fillings come with a range of benefits:
Unlike silver fillings, tooth-colored materials do not contain mercury or other metals. They are made from resin and a powdered glass filler. Many patients are concerned with mercury-containing materials’ effects on their health, so composite is a safe alternative.
More Natural Tooth Structure Retained
When white fillings are used, less natural tooth structure is removed compared to a silver filling. These materials bond directly with the tooth, so Dr. Hopkins only removes a small portion of the healthy tooth.
Resistance to Temperature Change
Composite materials are less sensitive to thermal changes, making them less likely to expand and contract. Because they are temperature-resistant, your tooth enamel remains intact, limiting the potential for toothaches and broken teeth.
Under normal circumstances, composite dental fillings are a quick and pain-free procedure. The entire process, from numbing to hardening the material, takes approximately one hour.
White dental fillings use a technique that micro-mechanically bonds the material to the healthy tooth structure. This technique provides additional support that maximizes the strength of the filling.
When most people think of fillings, they think of cavities. But tooth-colored filling materials can do much more than treat cavities. These materials also repair broken, chipped, or worn teeth.
Aesthetically Pleasing Outcomes
Tooth-colored dental fillings are designed to match your teeth’s existing color. They do not stand out when you laugh and smile, blending in to keep your smile flawless. This material is ideal for those who need dental fillings placed in their front teeth or others that are visible when you smile.
With a good home care routine and regular visits to Centre for Smile Designs for checkups, you can expect your dental fillings to last over ten years. You must brush twice a day, floss once daily, and avoid chewing on pen caps or ice.
The Procedure for Composite Dental Fillings
The procedure for composite is similar to other dental fillings, with the additional step of shade matching. Dr. Hopkins must match the composite filling material to the shade of your natural teeth before preparing the tooth and removing any decay.
How long it takes to prepare your tooth depends on how extensive the decay is. Once the tooth has been prepared and the decay removed, the tooth is cleaned with a conditioner.
Etching then prepares the tooth’s surface for bonding with the composite material by creating tiny irregularities on the tooth’s surface. These irregularities enhance the bond between the composite material and your tooth. The acid etch gets rinsed off before applying a bonding agent.
The bonding agent must be hardened using a special blue light to ensure it forms a secure seal. Once the bonding layer is hard, Dr. Hopkins begins layering the composite material to recreate your tooth’s natural shape. Small increments of composite material get added and cured, repeating until the desired results are achieved.
What to Expect After Your Composite Filling
After receiving your composite dental fillings, your mouth may remain numb for several hours following the procedure. You should avoid eating until the feeling returns to your mouth so that you don’t accidentally bite your tongue or cheek. However, because only one appointment is required, you do not need to follow any dietary restrictions.
Are You a Good Candidate for Tooth-Colored Fillings?
Most patients are candidates for composite dental fillings. A white filling is a suitable treatment option if you have a small to medium-sized cavity. Larger fillings may benefit from an alternative treatment, like inlays or onlays. Dr. Hopkins will evaluate your teeth to determine whether a composite filling is right for you.
Experience Our Gentle Approach to Restoring Your Smile
Composite dental fillings provide a natural-looking, effective way to address cavities and other concerns. If you are in need of a dental filling or other dental care in Gulfport, MS, you can turn to Centre for Smile Designs for comprehensive care for your whole family.
Dr. John Hopkins is a friendly, knowledgeable dentist who takes the time to understand each patient’s needs. With decades of experience, he has helped countless families achieve healthy and beautiful smiles using the latest technology available.
Contact Centre for Smile Designs to schedule an appointment today.