Fillings are used to restore a tooth that has been chipped/fractured or damaged by decay back to its normal function and shape. If you have a tooth that requires a filling, Dr. Bush will first remove the decayed tooth material, clean the affected area, and then fill the cleaned out area with a composite resin (plastic) material. Composite fillings are matched to the color of your natural teeth, creating a more natural appearance. A filling also helps prevent further decay by closing off any cracks or spaces where bacteria can enter.

Dr. Bush no longer restores teeth with the old silver amalgam fillings. He feels that the newer composite fillings are superior in both strength and appearance.

In some cases if the decay or fracture has damaged a large portion of the tooth, a crown may be recommended. Decay that has reached the nerve may need to be treated through root canal therapy or through a procedure called pulp capping.

Made from composite resin, tooth-colored fillings present unique advantages to patients. Most obviously, a tooth-colored filling looks natural. This is ideal for addressing small portions of decay or minor chips on the most visible teeth.

Another advantage to having tooth-colored fillings is the fact that these restorations require less tooth preparation than amalgam (metal) fillings and other more extensive restorations. This means that patients can keep more of their biological tooth structure.

Tooth-colored fillings are placed the same way that amalgam fillings are placed. First, the decayed or damaged portion of a tooth is removed. Sometimes, a mild, local anesthetic might be necessary to prevent discomfort. After the tooth is prepared and cleaned, composite resin is applied to the treatment site in paint-like strokes. Then, the tooth-colored compound is hardened with a curing light to complete the restoration process.

Composite resin does have uses beyond small restorations. Sometimes, composite resin is an appropriate method for addressing cosmetic concerns such as intrinsic tooth staining and minor chips and fractures. This tooth-colored compound can sometimes be used as a less costly alternative to placing porcelain veneers. Keep in mind though, using composite resin for cosmetic purposes normally requires touch ups over time.

Tooth-colored fillings can replace old, metal dental work. Many people choose to replace their amalgam fillings with tooth-colored ones to improve the appearance of their smile. Some folks might choose to have their amalgam fillings replaced with composite resin, even if their amalgam fillings are still in tact.

Preventing cavities involves attending routine dental appointments for checkups and cleanings every six months. A checkup can reveal weak spots in teeth that might be susceptible to decay. Sometimes, fluoride treatments can be used to strengthen teeth before cavities form. Professional dental cleanings help remove plaque and tartar, which can lead to tooth decay.

Beyond checkups and cleanings, patients should practice proper oral hygiene and moderate their sugar consumption.