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DENTAL FILLINGS

By the age of 45, more than 99 % of Americans have experienced tooth decay, which is largely preventable.

     Our goal is to help you avoid cavities.  However if you have a cavity and need a filling at least today you have a choice of what type of  material you would like to have used to replace your loss tooth structure due to decay

     The benefits of restorations (fillings) are that they:

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limit the damage from dental caries

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preserve and protect the remaining tooth structure

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reestablish adequate function or use of tooth

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save your teeth

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provide ease in maintaining good oral hygiene

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removing all the decay tremendously lowers the bacterial count in your mouth

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maintain pulp or nerve vitality when possible

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preserving the:
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 function

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 appearance

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 life of your teeth.  

     As much as we would like things to last forever, they don't!  Even dental fillings need to be replaced to best protect your teeth.  Fifty percent of fillings done are replacements of existing fillings.  

     As you continue to replace your fillings they get bigger and lead to more replacements so take care of your dental health to prevent this from occurring.  

Regular checkups can help you prevent decay that leads to the need for fillings.

How a "white spot" can advance to decay

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      Sometimes restorations need to be replaced for cosmetic reasons because the material used before may become badly discolored.  

     Aging may change teeth or the surrounding structures enough to require replacement of a restoration to improve your bite or to save your teeth.  The old restoration may have aged past its usefulness and the underlying tooth structure may be in danger if a new restoration is not done.

     Fillings do not cure decay they only remove 
the result of the acid attack. 
 

     If you do not use good oral hygiene  and have routine periodic exams to assure your restorations are fully intact and still protecting the underlying tooth, another cavity will develop causing you to need an even larger filling; a root canal or the worse...having a tooth extracted.  

     At the exam we check for new cavities and inspect old restorations for leakage around their edges.   You may not feel any symptoms of this leakage if not regularly checked until the damage has advanced to a critical level. 

We are in the tooth saving business, our goal is to help you keep your teeth for a lifetime.

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     When considering how to restore a tooth several factors are considered in planning for this restoration: 

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treating any disease present

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determining the best restorative material to use 

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durability 

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appearance 

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weighting the impact of the restoration on the development of cavities 

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it's' relationship to other restorations already present. 

      A smile is the universal language and we want yours to be the best for you.

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Type of Filling Advantages Disadvantages
Silver (Amalgam) Lowest cost
Least technique sensitive
Usually covered by insurance
Color
Weakens the tooth
Can require removal of healthy tooth to allow for retention of material
White (Composite) Color
Medium cost
Bonds and strengthens tooth
Technique sensitive
Longer procedure
May wear faster
Insurance may not cover
Gold Inlay or Onlay Long life 20-40 years
Good wear
Less technique sensitive
Higher cost
Two visits required
Insurance may not cover
Color

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Amalgam or silver fillings

     Amalgam fillings have been around for over 150 years.  Their durably is time tested. We do not recommend amalgam filling on your anterior teeth.  We usually only place them on molars upon patient's request.  

     There has been many questions about amalgam safety.  We will offer you the choice between "white"  or composite fillings and amalgam. 

      As composite fillings continue to advance and improve their durability our goal is to become an amalgam free practice due to the following reasons:

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Amalgam filling have a nonaesthetic appearance.

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The cups of an amalgam restored teeth are only 30% as strong as healthy teeth or teeth restored with composite.*

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Amalgam expands as it ages causing significant tooth fracturing.

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Mercury concerns.

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Large amalgam fillings like this one need to be crowned to protect the tooth from fractures and/or breakage:

This large filling needs to be crowned to prevent fractures.

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White filling composite

      Tooth colored filling or composite is the only material we will use on anterior (front) teeth because of their natural tooth colored appearance. This material is mercury free. We want you to look and feel your best. 

      How long these different materials hold up to wear are continuously being evaluated.  Here are the latest results of how long dental fillings wear and hold up through daily wear.  Their wear value however, is based larger on your daily care of them

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     Inlays and onlays are another method of replacing tooth structure.  

     When you are informed that you need a filling you will hear the dental staff discuss "surfaces".  The pricing of a filling is dependent on the number of surfaces involved in the procedure.  

There are five surfaces:

  1. Mesial-front side of tooth

  2. Distal-back side of tooth

  3. Occlusal-biting surface of tooth

  4. Lingual-tongue side of tooth

  5. Facial-check side of tooth

    The more surfaces that need to be replaced the more involved and complicated the procedure becomes resulting in a higher fee.

    This is why we recommend you come in for your 6 month recare appointments so we can find these cavities when they are small, more affordable and less destructive to tooth surfaces.
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Class 1: involves one surface of the five surfaces cavity.

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Class 2: involves two surfaces of cavity.

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Class 3: involve a cavity on the proximal (between) surface on front teeth.

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Class 4: involves three surfaces including the incisal (biting edge of front tooth) edge .

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Class 5: involves one surface cavity on the labial (lip) or tongue side of any tooth.

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Class 6: involves a cavity on the  cusp of a posterior or back tooth.

EARLY IDENTIFICATION AND TREATMENT OF CAVITIES BENEATH RESTORATIONS CAN SAVE YOUR TEETH!

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February 06, 2008

* Resource: Dental Equipment & Materials. 01/01

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PLEASE NOTE: The information contained herein is intended for educational purposes only.  It is not intended and should not be construed as the delivery of dental/medical care and is not a substitute for personal hands on dental/medical attention, diagnosis or treatment.  Persons requiring diagnosis, treatment, or with specific questions are urged to contact your family dental/health care provider for appropriate care.
This site is privately and personally sponsored, funded and supported by Dr. Peterson.  We have no outside funding.
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