4200 Columbia Rd, Martinez, GA 30907



Posts for tag: fillings

By Augusta Smilecare
September 25, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

Tooth-Colored FillingsCavities. Even with modern dental care, they're all too common. Fortunately, today's diagnostic techniques and materials look better and last longer than ever before. At Augusta Smile Care, Dr. John Massey, your Augusta, GA, family dentist, places realistic tooth-colored fillings to fully restore decay with a strong material which blends right in with surrounding enamel. You'll hardly be able to tell you had a cavity!

What causes tooth decay?

Experts agree that oral bacteria causes tooth decay and gum disease. It proliferates in plaque and tartar between teeth and on their chewing surfaces. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 96 percent of adults 65 and older have experienced tooth decay in their lifetimes.

Kinds of fillings

If left untreated, tooth decay only worsens, invading enamel, dentin and eventually, interior soft pulp and root structure. Fortunately, dentists have used metal amalgam fillings for years to restore teeth in form, function and health. However, metal fillings can be unattractive, particularly in the front of the mouth, and they eventually cause minor cracking in tooth structure as people bite and chew.

The modern alternative is the tooth-colored, or cosmetic, filling. Made of tooth-colored composite resin (a blend of silica particles and plastic), a tooth-colored filling is just as strong as your natural tooth enamel, and it blends seamlessly in color and texture with the rest of the tooth.

Filling a tooth

At Augusta Smile Care, Dr. Massey often discovers tooth decay on routine examination or through digital X-ray imaging. That's why your six-month check-ups and cleanings are so important. Fortunately, placing a filling is a simple, one-visit process and normally needs nothing more than a local anesthetic to numb the tooth.

When the tooth is numb, the dentist uses small tools to remove the decay (and any old filling material). He shapes the remaining enamel to receive the composite resin, and then, layer by layer, fills the tooth. He uses a dental curing light to harden each layer, creating a super-resilient bond.

The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry says that cosmetic fillings not only look better than amalgam, they:

  • Become part of tooth enamel and the second, more porous, tooth layer called dentin
  • Flex with the pressures of chewing and biting and distribute those forces evenly
  • Last for many years

Your tooth-colored filling

You'll be amazed at how well it looks and performs. If you think you have a cavity, please call Augusta Smile Care for an examination. Dr. Massey and his team love bringing smiles back to health and enhancing their appearance, too. Call the office at (706) 868-1322.

By Augusta Smilecare
September 12, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: fillings  

Over the last century and a half millions of people have had a tooth cavity filled with “silver” amalgam. Perhaps you’re one of them. The use of this effective and durable filling has declined in recent years, but only because of the development of more attractive tooth-colored materials.

At the same time there’s another issue that’s been brewing in recent years about this otherwise dependable metal alloy: the inclusion of mercury in amalgam, about half of its starting mixture. Various studies have shown mercury exposure can have a cumulative toxic effect on humans. As a result, you may already be heeding warnings to limit certain seafood in your diet.

So, should you be equally concerned about amalgam fillings — even going so far as to have any existing ones removed?

Before taking such a drastic step, let’s look at the facts. To begin with, not all forms of mercury are equally toxic. The form causing the most concern is called methylmercury, a compound formed when mercury released in the environment combines with organic molecules. This is the form certain large fish like salmon and tuna ingest, which we then ingest when we eat them. Methylmercury can accumulate in the body’s tissues where at high levels it can damage various organ systems.

Dental amalgam, on the other hand, uses elemental mercury. Dentists take it in liquid form and mix it with a powder of other metals like silver, tin and copper to create a pliable paste. After it’s placed in a prepared cavity, the amalgam hardens into a compound in which the mercury interlaces with the other metals and becomes “trapped.”

Although over time the filling may emit trace amounts of mercury vapor, it’s well below harmful levels. You’re more likely to encounter “un-trapped” mercury in your diet than from a dental filling. And scores of studies over amalgam’s 150-year history have produced no demonstrable ill effects due to mercury.

Although it now competes with more attractive materials, amalgam still fills (no pun intended) a necessary role. Dentists frequently use amalgam in less visible back teeth, which encounter higher chewing pressures than front teeth. So, if you already have an amalgam filling or we recommend one to you, relax — you’re really in no danger of mercury poisoning.

If you would like more information on dental amalgam fillings, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

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John D. Massey, DMD
4200 Columbia Road
Martinez, GA 30907