Oral decay is a common issue for many adults and children alike and can lead to cavities and other oral concerns. Dental fillings are the most common restoration to repair a tooth that has suffered from cavities. Our strong, durable materials can restore the form and function of your damaged teeth. At Russell Family Dentistry in Tomball, TX, we use often composite resin and glass ionomers. These materials come in a wide spectrum of shades, and Dr. Louis Russell can choose a color that matches your natural tooth. These materials also have functional benefits and can usually restore damaged teeth more effectively than traditional metal fillings. If you present with the symptoms of a cavity, Dr. Russell will carefully evaluate your tooth to determine the right type of restoration for you. He offers a variety of treatments but will provide this more conservative option whenever possible.
With advanced technology, Dr. Russell can often detect residual bacteria, as well as early-stage decay. Early diagnosis of a cavity can help prevent severe discomfort and allows us to treat your tooth with more conservative methods.
When Is a Filling Appropriate?
Decay develops when oral bacteria remain on your teeth for too long. Every time you eat sugar or starches, the bacteria feed off of the molecules, producing acids as a byproduct. The acids will then erode your dental tissue. Eventually, bacteria will be able to penetrate deeper into your teeth, creating cavities. Often, cavities cause noticeable symptoms, such as a toothache or even a visible lesion.
With advanced technology, Dr. Russell can often detect residual bacteria, as well as early-stage decay. Early diagnosis of a cavity can help prevent severe discomfort and allows us to treat your tooth with more conservative methods. Fillings are usually suitable if you have a small or medium-sized cavity. If decay spreads and destroys a large portion of your tooth, you may require more extensive treatment and a dental crown.
Types of Fillings
Dr. Russell typically does not recommend traditional silver amalgam as a restorative option. Instead, he prefers modern composite resin and glass ionomers. Composite resin is composed of plastic and glass resin, and can be made to match the natural color and texture of your teeth. Glass ionomers are a mixture of glass and organic acid that act as a cement. This material can also match your natural tooth color and is commonly used to repair children's baby teeth that have suffered from cavities.
Placing a Dental Filling
Before preparing your tooth, Dr. Russell may numb the surrounding tissue with local anesthesia. He will carefully remove the decayed tissue while smoothing and reshaping the surrounding area. Once the tooth has been prepared, Dr. Russell will place the restorative material in layers, hardening each one with a special curing light. After he has fully filled in the cavity, he will reshape and polish the outside of the restoration for a comfortable bite and natural shine. During this process, you should feel nothing more than a slight pressure, if anything at all.
Composite and glass ionomer fillings can match the color of your natural teeth to blend seamlessly with your smile.
The Benefits of Tooth-Colored Dental Fillings
There are several reasons Dr. Russell favors composite resin and glass ionomers. These materials can better match your smile, which is an especially important consideration for the front teeth. In contrast, metal fillings are highly visible and can show through your teeth, darkening them from the inside. Along with the cosmetic benefits, tooth-colored materials offer functional and health-related advantages:
- They bond with your tooth better than metal, providing greater strength and stability over time. They can also better seal the cavity, preventing leakage and future infection.
- Composite fillings are more conservative and require less removal of dental tissue.
- Glass ionomer can slowly release fluoride over time. This mineral will strengthen your dental enamel and reduce the risk of further decay.
Based on a careful examination of your tooth, Dr. Russell will recommend the most appropriate filling material. Sometimes, he can combine composite and glass ionomer so you can enjoy the benefits of both options.
Restore Form and Function
To learn more about dental fillings and the right type for you, contact us online to book a consultation. You can also call (281) 351-5458 to schedule an appointment or to speak to a team member.