Dr. Stephen A. Price


Call today for your free no obligation consultation: (703)-935-2879


A Tooth-Colored Filling Offers Hidden Benefits

A Tooth-Colored Filling Offers Hidden Benefits

Dental Fillings BURKE, VAThe dental disease poses numerous problems. Whether disease involves a small part of a tooth or the entire center chamber of soft tissue situated around teeth roots, any amount of decay can lead to pain. Where there is the pain in the mouth, we imagine there is also stress. No one likes the idea of having to see the dentist for restorative care. We do what we can to make the treatment process as comfortable as possible. Additionally, it is important to us that the results of care benefit the patient in as many ways as possible. Tooth-colored fillings help us do that.

What is a Tooth-Colored Filling?

The answer to this may be obvious; a tooth-colored filling is a restoration that matches the natural color of your tooth. Because of this, the overall appearance of the tooth is not changed by dental treatment. This wasn’t always possible. Way back in the 1800s, cavities were repaired with gold. This proved to be a rather expensive option, so another material was developed. In 1830, dental amalgam, aka the silver filling, was developed out of copper, tin, silver, and mercury. Initially, an amalgam filling does look silver. However, over time, oxidation causes the metal to tarnish and darken, thereby becoming more obvious in appearance.

A tooth-colored filling is an attractive option, yes, but there’s more. One of the important aspects of restorative care is how a filling fits into the tooth, how it performs in the tooth, and how long it lasts. Amalgam is said to be beneficial because it can last decades, but that’s not the whole story. One of the reasons we do not use amalgam in our office is because amalgam is metallic. Metal expands when it becomes hot (which happens every time you chew). For an amalgam to swell in a tooth means that, eventually, that tooth may fracture. Why risk this when we can place a composite filling instead?

Composite fillings are bonded to enamel and maintain tight margins that lock out debris and bacteria. These fillings are also less reactive than amalgam when they become hot because they are metal-free. These two factors alone improve the end-result of restorative care.

Has it been more than six months since you’ve seen us? Call (703)-935-2879 today to get an appointment on the books. We’re here to help you avoid the need for fillings and other reparative treatments.

An Important but Often Overlooked Detail of Dental Fillings

Dental Fillings Burke VAFor the past 150-plus years, fillings have been the most basic of all dental restorations. This procedure is performed every single day across the globe, and it provides patients the opportunity to prevent more complicated damage to tooth structure. Way back when fillings were made of gold. This protocol led to long-lasting structural repair. Many people have said that their gold fillings never needed to be replaced. Perhaps this is where the misperception about fillings developed. Since the use of gold transitioned into amalgam and, now, into a composite resin and other ceramics, the idea that fillings can last forever needs to be tossed aside.

Just about every dental restoration made today has an end-date. Just how long a restoration like a filling can last is dependent on a few factors. One is the material used to repair the tooth. Another is oral care. In many cases, fillings simply wear out from daily use. Because your dentist knows that fillings need to be replaced at some point, time is spent during every dental exam to closely observe the integrity of each restoration in, on, or over a tooth.

Indications that a Filling Needs to be Replaced

A few of the signs that it’s time to replace a filling include:

  • Clear separation around the filling. When we chew, the enamel of our teeth expands because friction creates heat. When the mouth cools, enamel constricts. The materials used to make fillings react the same way to heat and to cool, with expansion and contraction. The problem is, there is variation in how quickly and how much these materials expand and contract. Over time, this leads to space around the filling.
  • When a filling separates, it may do so to such a subtle degree that we cannot detect it with the naked eye. What can detect the space around a filing is oral bacteria. These microorganisms may accumulate in microscopic crevices near the filling margin, gradually causing decay.
  • Enamel is the strongest matter in the body. That’s a hard thing to match! Though dental materials have been selected based on their durability, each can wear down over time. If excessive wear is noticed, replacement is necessary.

Your Burke dentist offers personal dental care in a friendly office setting. Schedule your visit at (703)-935-2879.

Fillings and Crowns: Two Paths to Resilience

Dental Fillings Burke, VADental decay is not a problem that can wait. As soon as you notice any indication of a potential cavity, such as sensitivity or a mild ache, schedule a visit with your dentist. In our Burke office, we like to perform as little restorative care as necessary. The earlier a problem is evaluated, the more conservatively we can act. On that note, why even wait for a problem to occur? Call our office today to schedule your routine checkup and cleaning! Now back to our regularly-scheduled post . . .

When we consider the idea of tooth decay, or cavities, the mind instinctively goes to fillings. Cavities and fillings go hand in hand, right? Not necessarily. Let’s look at the two options that may be considered for tooth repair.

Dental Fillings

When the outer shell of enamel has been damaged by bacteria (more precisely, the acidic debris from bacteria), a filling may be inserted into the area of decay after all diseased matter has been removed. Historically, fillings have been made of dental amalgam. Fortunately, we are phasing out the use of this material. Our patients receive composite fillings, which mimic the appearance of enamel for a much more aesthetically pleasing outcome.

Another Side Note

Fillings, even strongly bonded composite fillings, have their limitations. Depending on the extent of damage, we may suggest a porcelain inlay. Inlays are quite durable due to the strength of porcelain. They also look a bit more natural than a composite due to the sheen of this material.

Dental Crowns

Decay that has extended over one or more of the cusps at the corner of a tooth cannot be adequately repaired with a dental filling or with an inlay. This degree of damage needs a dental crown. Dental crowns fit entirely over a tooth, completely to the gum line. The quality of materials that are available today support long-term function and a natural appearance. If a crown is needed, we explain all options for materials, their pros and cons, and let you make the final decision for restorative care.

You deserve to know that your oral health is in good hands. Our experienced team recognizes the capabilities and limitations of different dental restorations, and performs care in a manner that maximizes outcome.

To schedule a visit with us, call (703)750-9404.

Dental Fillings 101

Dental fillings are commonly used to correct dental problems and restore function to your teeth. Keep reading to learn more about this common solution.

When are dental fillings needed?
Dental fillings are used in conjunction with a variety of treatments. They are used as part of root canal therapy and to treat cavities. Fillings can also be used to correct cracked or broken teeth, or to restore teeth that have been worn down by bruxism.

Why are dental fillings important?
dental fillingsIf damage to your teeth isn’t corrected, you could permanently lose a tooth or problems could escalate and spread to other teeth and to your gums. Dental fillings fix problems before they become worse and make your teeth functional again.

Which type of dental filling should you choose?
The right type of dental filling for you depends on your teeth, your budget, and your personal preferences. Your dentist can help you evaluate your options. In most cases, fillings are either amalgam (a mix of metals), resin, or porcelain.

Amalgam fillings can be more affordable, but they are more noticeable since they do not match the color of the rest of your teeth. Resin fillings are similar to normal tooth color so they blend in while correcting problems and fixing the tooth structure. Porcelain fillings are used for inlays and have the highest aesthetic value.

Talk to your dentist about your preferences and budget in order to choose a filling that is best for you.

What is the procedure like?
The dental filling procedure usually starts with local anesthetic to numb the area and prevent pain. Then the decayed part of the tooth will be removed and the rest of the tooth will be cleaned. Last, the filling material you’ve chosen will be put into your tooth to give it a natural shape and prevent future infections.

Dental fillings can help to save your tooth and make it look and feel normal again. If you’d like to learn more about dental fillings and other procedures that can keep your teeth healthy, schedule an appointment with Dr. Stephen Price.



Request Appointment