Dear Valued Patient:

We hope this letter finds you and your family in good health. Our community has been through a lot over the last few months, and all of us are looking forward to resuming our normal habits and routines. While many things have changed, one thing has remained the same: our commitment to your safety.

Infection control has always been a top priority for our practice and you may have seen this during your visits to our office. Our infection control processes are made so that when you receive care, it’s both safe and comfortable. We want to tell you about the infection control procedures we follow in our practice to keep patients and stay safe.

Our office follows infection control recommendations made by the American Dental Association (ADA), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). We follow the activities of these agencies so that we are up-to-date on any new rulings or guidance that may be issued. We do this to make sure that our infection control procedures are current and adhere to each agencies’ recommendations.

You may see some changes when it is time for your next appointment. We made these changes to help protect our patients and staff. For example:

- Our office will communicate with you beforehand to ask some screening questions. You'll be asked those same questions again when you are in the office.

- We have hand sanitizer that we will ask you to use when you enter the office. You will also find some in the reception area and other places in the office for you to use as needed.

- You may see that our waiting room will no longer offer magazines, children's toys and so forth, since those items are difficult to clean and disinfect.

- Appointments will be managed to allow for social distancing between patients. That might mean that you're offered fewer options for scheduling your appointment.

- We will do our best to allow greater time between patients to reduce waiting times for you, as well as to reduce the number of patients in the reception area at any one time.

We look forward to seeing you again and are happy to answer any questions you may have about the steps we take to keep you, and every patient, safe in our practice. To make an appointment, please call our office at 704-364-9000. 

Thank you for being our patient. We value your trust and loyalty and look forward to welcoming back our patients, neighbors and friends.

Sincerely,

Dr. Porter and Team

Tooth-Colored Fillings

Tooth-colored fillings can repair teeth weakened by decay. These restorations are composed of high-quality composite resin, which can be shade-matched to emulate your natural enamel. Many patients elect to have old or worn amalgam fillings replaced with composite material to achieve more aesthetically pleasing results.

Understanding the Structure of Teeth

Teeth are made of several layers. The outer portion of the tooth is composed of enamel, which is considered one of the strongest tissues in the body. Enamel protects the more sensitive underlying layers, including dentin and the inner pulp chamber.

What is a Cavity?

Cavities result from tooth decay, which is caused by a buildup of plaque on the surface of teeth. The acids in plaque begin to erode the enamel, which can cause small holes to develop. These holes are known as cavities.

Who Is Susceptible to Cavities?

Both children and adults are vulnerable to cavities. The enamel of primary teeth is softer than that of adult teeth, making these teeth more susceptible to decay. In addition, deep decay can spread from baby teeth to permanent teeth growing beneath the gums.

Tooth colored fillings are made from composite resin, a special compound of ceramic and plastic that closely mimics the shade and translucency of enamel.

With age, teeth can become worn down. Daily chewing, grinding, and biting can wear away at the enamel and result in small chips or fractures. These fissures can harbor bacteria. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 92 percent of adults between the ages of 20 and 64 have at least one cavity.

Do You Have a Cavity?

In their initial stages, cavities do not often present with noticeable symptoms. If you have more advanced stages of decay, you may notice:

  • Visible pits or holes in teeth
  • Brown, black, or white spots on enamel
  • Pain when consuming anything hot or cold
  • Difficulty chewing or biting down
  • Sporadic or chronic tooth pain

Your dentist is able to identify and treat cavities in their earliest stages. As a result, it is incredibly important to schedule biannual checkups, so your dentist can help you maintain a healthy smile.

Treatable Cases

When decay is mild to moderate, a dental filling can generally restore the structural integrity of a tooth. More extensive cavities may require an inlay or onlay, which can repair a larger area. If decay is left unaddressed, it can penetrate the underlying layers of the tooth. When a cavity reaches the pulp, root canal therapy may be the only way to salvage the tooth and avoid extraction. A dental crown can then restore the remaining structure and function of the tooth.

Comparing Composite to Amalgam

Comparing Composite to Amalgam
Composite material is color-matched to blend with the shade of your natural teeth.

Tooth Colored Filings vs. Amalgam Fillings

Traditionally, dentists used amalgam fillings to repair compromised teeth. These restorations are comprised of a mixture of metals, including tin, silver, copper, and mercury. However, with the advent of composite resin the 1980s, tooth-colored fillings became the preferred method of treatment.

Tooth colored fillings are made from composite resin, a special compound of ceramic and plastic that closely mimics the shade and translucency of enamel. These restorations provide more realistic results and offer the added benefit of stability. Unlike amalgam, which contracts and expands with temperature fluctuations, composite resin consistently maintains its shape. It also requires less enamel removal, so you can preserve the structural integrity of your smile.

Steps Included with Tooth Colored Fillings

Dental fillings can be often be placed on the same day as your examination. To determine the extent of decay, your dentist can take x-rays of your teeth. These images will be used to plan treatment. Typically, you can expect:

  • Anesthesia: Before treatment begins, a local anesthetic will be administered to numb the tooth and surrounding tissue. Patients who suffer from dental anxiety may benefit from stronger forms of sedation. 
  • Tooth preparation: Once you are comfortable, the dentist can remove unhealthy bacteria and damaged tissue.
  • Composite resin application: The dentist can carefully mix the composite resin material to ensure it blends seamlessly with the color of your tooth. The dentist can then apply the material in layers for maximum strength and shine a special curing light to harden the resin in place. Application requires a delicate technique and a keen eye for detail.
  • Tooth reshaping and polishing: Once the composite resin is hardened, the dentist will check for proper occlusion. Any excess resin will be trimmed and the tooth polished to reveal your new and improved smile.

With proper care, composite resin fillings can last for several years.

Dr. Porter

Charles A. Porter III, DDS

Dr. Porter implements the latest developments and highest standards in dentistry. He is a member of several prestigious organizations, including the:

  • American Dental Association
  • Academy of General Dentistry
  • North Carolina Dental Society 

To schedule your consultation, contact our Charlotte office online or call us at (704) 364-9000.

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Charlotte Office

135 S Sharon Amity Rd
Ste 200
Charlotte, NC 28211

Open Today 7:00am - 2:00pm

Friday: By Appointment

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