Tooth-colored fillings in St. Louis, MO: A durable, natural-looking cavity treatment
Dental fillings are one of the most common dental treatments. It’s a straightforward way to halt progressive tooth decay. Dr. James Maxwell places tooth-colored fillings in St. Louis, MO at the office of Crestwood Dental Group. The use of a dental material that safely replicates the appearance and function of a natural, healthy tooth is further complemented by techniques that support comfortable, “fear-free” treatment.
Bacteria and starches or sugars in food combine to create plaque. This sticky, acidic bacterial plaque erodes both soft tissues (gums) and hard tissues (teeth). A tooth is eroded from the inside out. Enamel erosion may be treated with modifications to oral care and products, which encourage remineralization. Untreated, this process creates openings or holes (cavities) on the teeth. Cavities may be treated with dental materials that are precisely placed to “fill in” those holes.
Tooth-colored fillings are made from a dental resin or composite. This material is color-matched to blend in with the surrounding tooth structure and neighboring teeth. So, the treated tooth is indistinguishable in appearance from the healthy, unaltered, natural tooth. The material is also biocompatible, or “tissue-friendly.” A conservative treatment, composite resin preserves maximum natural tooth structure. Since much of the natural tooth remains unaltered, the dental material bonds well to the surrounding structure. In turn, these fillings are as durable, resilient, and long-lasting as they are aesthetic, attractive, and natural-looking.
What to expect
Any treatment or recommendation for care starts with an examination of your mouth. What can’t be seen upon visual inspection can be pinpointed with diagnostic tools, such as X-rays. Conservative treatments that resolve the condition at hand are always recommended before more invasive options. For instance, Dr. Maxwell and our skilled Registered Dental Hygienists, Becky and Ricki, partner with you to prevent the need for restorative procedures, such as fillings. However, fillings may be appropriate should we be unable to adequately treat damage to the tooth with changes to hygiene or oral care products. Likewise, some cavities may be too large to be treated sufficiently with a filling. There must be enough healthy natural tooth structure to support the filling. In situations where a greater amount of tooth structure has been damaged, we’ll recommend either an inlay or onlay (partial crown), which provides greater coverage than a filling. Large fillings are prone to fractures.
Dr. Maxwell uses a unique type of laser dentistry; WaterLase, to prepare the treatment site. The areas of decay are cleaned out and a spray of water allows the laser to precisely and comfortably manipulate tissues while minimizing excess heat. Overheating from conventional instruments is associated with discomfort, and longer treatment and recovery. Waterlase is gentle and helps patients avoid many of the sources of dental anxiety that have long plagued conventional dentistry, such as the sound and sensation of the drill.
The composite material itself is applied in thin layers to the inside of the cavity. As each layer is applied, it is hardened with a special curing light. This technique further strengthens the tooth. With good oral care, routine brushing and flossing, and visits to our office, your treated tooth will look and feel great for years to come. Prompt treatment with fillings also helps you to avoid further damage, and the need for more extensive, time-consuming, costly, and invasive treatments.
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