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Dr. Kevin Burgdorf, DDS
Bridgeton MO Dentist
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How We Restore Damaged Teeth with Tooth-Colored Fillings

September 24, 2022
Posted By: Dr. Kevin Burgdorf, DDS

Tooth decay is a disorder that starts small, like a trickle of water on a lonely mountainside. But if left to run its course, the plaque-causing bacteria behind ever-expanding tooth decay accumulates and grows together, little streams which become creeks flowing and chiseling the landscape of your tooth.

The ultimate result of unmanaged tooth decay is a tooth cavity, which is carved out by progressive bacteria growth, becoming deeper and broader, like a river wearing away your tooth and damaging the landscape. But this effect need not be inevitable. Dr. Kevin Burgdorf DDS cares for your teeth like a conservationist treats the environment by restoring the landscape and preserving it for the future. His tools include tooth-colored fillings, a method of halting tooth decay and repairing damaged tooth structures with natural-looking and durable materials.

The best way to understand how modern fillings became tooth-colored is to consider the dental fillings of the past. That will help you appreciate how today we can offer dental restorations that conserve tooth material, have a reasonable cost, and may become a lasting part of your smile.

The History of Dental Fillings

You may be surprised to learn that people have experimented with their teeth for thousands of years. Modern archaeologists have found evidence of the earliest dental fillings in a person who lived 13,000 years ago in northern Italy. Their teeth show signs of drilling to create a hole with residues of a naturally occurring and sticky substance called bitumen.

Fast forward several thousand years to China, where medical practitioners recorded the first known metallic fillings similar to the silver fillings still in use today. This material is a combination of metals, which is why it's called amalgam, a word related to the noun 'amalgamation,' which means a mixture of materials. An exact recipe for dental amalgam was published in China by the 16th century, but dental science has significantly upgraded the formula to make it safer and more effective.

However, amalgam has numerous drawbacks, mainly in appearance and long-term impacts on your remaining tooth. The metallic nature of amalgam contrasts sharply with your white and translucent teeth, so it can be pretty obtrusive. It also darkens your teeth as they wear because the metal shows through your tooth enamel.

What Are Tooth-Colored Fillings?

During the 1960s, advancements in materials science resulted in a special plastic called resin. This starts out soft and malleable but hardens to a durable solid that we tint to any color. By the 21st century, dentists had refined these resins by adding other substances like glass which create a composite that sparkles almost identically to your tooth enamel.

Most people now prefer these tooth-colored fillings because they conceal the damage from tooth decay while protecting your tooth from further damage. In addition, an expert dentist like Dr. Burgdorf can use a tooth-colored filling to preserve your natural tooth because he can remove less material to get a solid bond than with amalgam. The composite is also more flexible, so you may have several small fillings that don't compromise your overall tooth.

How Much Does a Tooth-Colored Filling Cost?

The cost of a tooth-colored filling has decreased over time as the materials become more popular and accessible. However, what you pay will depend largely on the treated tooth's location, as your back teeth may require a more significant filling. You can feel confident that we will always discuss your options and how they may fit into your budget before we begin any procedure.

If you are concerned about affording your necessary dental care, we proudly offer our in-house dental benefits plan. For an annual fee, you receive numerous benefits, including 20 percent off tooth-colored fillings as well as all other dental treatments. The program doesn't have a waiting period nor a yearly maximum for your discounts.

How Long Do Tooth-Colored Fillings Last?

A properly placed tooth-colored filling may have an excellent lifespan if you treat it well. By brushing and flossing daily and avoiding risky behavior such as playing sports without a mouthguard, you can expect your composite filling to last up to a decade or longer.

How Dental Bonding Uses Composite Resin to Repair Minor Tooth Flaws

Another restoration function that dentists have devised for composite resin is a non-invasive cosmetic dental procedure known as dental bonding. Dr. Burgdorf can fix many types of tooth damage by sculpting the resin onto your tooth and hardening it to reshape it. Here are a few flaws dental bonding addresses:

  • A chipped tooth
  • Tooth fractures
  • Stains and discoloration that resist professional teeth whitening
  • Eroded and uneven tooth enamel
  • A misshapen tooth
  • Smaller gaps between teeth

The composite is an ideal repair material because Dr. Burgdorf can blend it into your smile so that the repair disappears. In addition, with dental bonding, we don't remove any tooth enamel, so the treatment is reversible. It costs less than similar restorations, and we can complete your treatment in one visit.

Tooth-Colored Fillings in Bridgeton, MO

Dental fillings are a time-tested and effective means of addressing decay and other types of tooth damage. Tooth-colored fillings are the latest advancement in this form of restorative dentistry and can refurbish a tooth by eliminating cavities while maximizing the preservation of natural tooth material. In addition, the same composite material may also fix certain surface flaws when we use it for dental bonding.

If you worry about tooth damage and want to explore how a tooth-colored filling will work for you, we encourage you to call our Bridgeton dental office to make an appointment with Dr. Burgdorf and his team of dental professionals. We always welcome new patients and are excited to meet and treat you today.

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