Tooth decay, or dental caries, wears away tooth enamel and can be a problem for anyone at any age. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on the teeth; without consistently removing this plaque, decay can occur. Consuming sugary foods and drinks can increase the risk of tooth decay, as can poor oral hygiene. Brushing, flossing, and professional teeth cleanings are ways you can prevent cavities and keep your smile healthy and disease-free. Children, teens, and adults can get cavities, but thankfully there is an effective solution: dental fillings.
At Seymour Dental Associates, Dr. Haley Julian-Hill and Dr. Corey Hill take cavity prevention and treatment very seriously. Our team works with patients of all ages to treat tooth decay and prevent it from affecting their oral health. With dental fillings, we can remove the decay and fill the tooth to protect its structure and restore its function so you can once again eat and speak with comfort. If you'd like to learn more about treatment options for tooth decay, please get in touch with our dental office to schedule an appointment.
What Is a Dental Filling?
Dental fillings remove tooth decay and replace the tooth structure, restoring the tooth's chewing power and comfort. Fillings can be made from materials like gold, silver, ceramics, or composite resins. At Seymour Dental Associates, we use tooth-colored fillings made from composite resins because they're metal-free and more aesthetic than other filling materials. Tooth-colored fillings are long-lasting and blend in with your natural tooth's color, so no one will ever be able to tell you've had dental work.
How Long Do Dental Fillings Last?
The lifetime and durability of a dental filling depend on the type of filling the dentist uses and the location and severity of the tooth damage. Many types of fillings to choose from, but your TN family dentist in Seymour prefers tooth-colored fillings. This is because tooth-colored fillings match your tooth's color and can last for five to 10 years or longer if well cared for.
Caring for your teeth is essential for your oral health and ensuring your fillings last. Your dentist recommends brushing twice daily, flossing once daily, and receiving routine dental exams and cleanings to ensure your fillings stay in excellent shape. The better you care for your smile, the longer your fillings may last without requiring replacement.
What Are the Different Types of Dental Fillings?
There are many types of dental fillings, but listed below are some of the most common.
#1 Tooth-Colored Fillings
Tooth-colored or composite fillings typically last five to 10 years or longer. Most patients and dentists prefer composite fillings because the filling material is color-matched to the patient's surrounding tooth. They are also the most conservative type of filling. Tooth-colored fillings are ideal for repairing visible teeth, especially teeth in the front of the mouth. Composite fillings are versatile and can be used to improve worn or chipped teeth and even teeth that have had root canal therapy.
Unlike other fillings, composite fillings require minimal removal of healthy tooth structure to place the filling. Depending on the patient's treatment needs, a tooth-colored filling can be completed in one to two dental visits. Because tooth-colored fillings are metal-free and mercury-free, they don't expand or contract with temperature changes like silver fillings. Tooth-colored fillings are also BPA-free, so patients of all ages feel safe using this type of filling.
#2 Gold Fillings
Gold fillings can last for 10 to 15 years. They're durable, don't erode, and withstand hard chewing, especially on back teeth. Some patients prefer gold to silver fillings. However, gold fillings require two dental visits to be fit. Another drawback to gold fillings is that they cannot be placed next to a silver filling because it can lead to galvanic shock, which is painful. Some patients simply don't like the look of gold fillings, while others do.
#3 Silver Amalgam Fillings
Silver amalgam fillings can last 10 to 15 years and withstand strong chewing forces. However, they are not aesthetically pleasing and may create gray discoloration on the surrounding tooth. Silver fillings also require more removal of healthy tooth structure compared to other types of fillings. Silver can also cause the tooth to crack due to the metal's expanding and contracting nature in changing temperatures (e.g., hot and cold foods and liquids). Finally, some people may develop an allergic reaction to the one percent of mercury in silver fillings. Though the American Dental Association deems silver amalgam fillings safe and effective cavity treatment, many patients prefer to steer clear of mercury-containing fillings.
#4 Indirect Fillings
There are two types of indirect fillings: inlays and onlays. Indirect fillings can last for several years, even decades, and are highly durable. Inlays are similar to fillings, but they sit within the tooth cusps, over the chewing surface of the tooth. Onlays involve one or more tooth cusps and are sometimes called "partial crowns."
Attractive and Durable Dental Fillings in Seymour, TN
Tooth-colored fillings can repair tooth decay, chips, breaks, and other dental concerns. With the help of our Seymour dentist, you can restore your smile and reclaim your oral health––all while maintaining a seamless and beautiful grin.
Please contact our dental office today for an appointment if you have a cavity or tooth damage. Our dentists would love to meet you and show you what's possible for your smile. If you need directions to our Seymour dentist's office, don't hesitate to call us at (865) 579-3368.