Dental fillings are one of the most common procedures out there — there’s a good chance you’re rocking some right now! When a cavity begins to burrow into your tooth, that bacteria can eventually spread, compromising the structural integrity of the tooth and eventually infecting the tooth’s root (that’s where a root canal comes in). If a cavity is caught before an infection becomes too severe, a dentist can clean out bacteria and then use a filling to close up the tooth, preventing further damage. Although fillings are already a safe and effective treatment for cavities, they tend to only last between 5 – 7 years, depending on the type of filling and the oral hygiene of the patient.

Obviously, the longer, the better, which is why a team of researchers at the Oregon Health & Science University are testing out a new material which could double the life of most fillings.

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The Future of Fillings?

Published in the journal, Scientific Reports just this year, a team of researchers associated with OHSU School of Dentistry have created a new filling material that’s two times more resistant to breakage than standard fillings. This new material uses the additive, thiourethane, which is used to make car bumpers stronger, and to protect wooden decks from the elements. The team also developed a new adhesive to be used in conjunction with this filling, which is 30 percent stronger after six months than alternative adhesives.

According to Carmem Pfeifer, the project’s lead, typical dental fillings can weaken after a decade, cracking under the pressure of chewing, and exposing teeth to tiny openings where bacteria can re-enter teeth. If the cavity isn’t caught in time, it may require a root canal or worse, the patient could lose their tooth or suffer from severe infection. Stronger dental materials will save patients from exposure in the future.

When Will These Fillings Be Available

Unfortunately, this study was only completed recently, meaning it could be some time before these fillings will be available commercially. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to upgrade your fillings now, especially if you have unseemly metal amalgam fillings. Not only are these fillings not very easy on the eyes, they’re known to break down faster in a process known as “leaking.” Dental amalgam is a composite mixture of silver, copper, tin, and mercury. Through natural wear and tear, and your own saliva, metal fillings can shrink, allowing small gaps through which bacteria can crawl through.

If you had your mental fillings inserted more than five years ago, it’s always a good idea to schedule an appointment and have them checked. This also allows you to talk with your dentist about changing your fillings.

Tooth colored fillings are made of either composite or porcelain, and can offer your both a highly durable solution, as well as an aesthetic one. Composite can be matched to your shade of teeth, making them almost impossible to detect.

Want to learn more about tooth-colored fillings in Wichita Falls, TX? Please call 940-322-2252 or contact us today for an appointment at StarImage Dentistry.