Cavities, one of the most common dental problems, are created when bacteria attacks your dental enamel. In the past, dental cavities were filled with a material called amalgam, which is a combination of metals containing silver and mercury. Now we know that amalgam fillings do not adhere very well to the teeth and while there are no double-blind research studies (the “gold” standard for research) that can prove the mercury can be dangerous to your overall health, it strains credibility that mercury before it enters the body, and once it is removed from the body is a poison, and somehow miraculously doesn’t become a poison while in the body. At Smiles! Dentistry by Dr. Joseph Heher in Salisbury, MD, dentist Dr. Joseph Heher offers only tooth-colored fillings made from a composite resin or glass ionomers to fill and protect teeth. Dr. Heher can also remove old metal fillings using a rubber sheet (rubber dam) over the tooth replacing them with tooth-colored fillings for better-looking restorations. Interestingly, the only time the American Dental Association (ADA) suggests caution with mercury in amalgam fillings is when those fillings are removed, and particalized by the dental drill during removal. The ADA recommends amalgam removal under a rubber dam. Unfortunately, the majority of general dentists in the United States rarely use them. Dr. Heher has routinely used rubber dams since dental school days.
"My husband started off as a patient and had nothing but great things to say about all of the staff and how comfortable the whole process was. When I had a problem I called and was seen quickly. I have tried a few dentists over the years and I will say this place is where I have felt most at ease. I cant say enough about the staff, they are all friendly, and compassionate. I was also impressed that Dr. Heher calls to check on how you are doing the next day. I have never had a dentist do that. We are glad we found this dentist and will always use them."- L.S. / Google / Mar 21, 2019
"Dr. Heher went in-depth with me at my first exam. Him and all staff made my day as they were kind and professional. Being to three different dentist in the area, I truly feel Dr. Heher was thorough, easy to talk to and ask questions and gentle. His staff and himself definitely make you their priority."- A.B. / Google / Jan 04, 2019
"Called on a Saturday morning explaining that I was experiencing tooth and jaw pain. I had never been to this practice before. They told me to come in and I did. Can’t say enough... I left feeling much better. My husband and I have found our new dentist!! Thanks to Dr. Heher and Staff for caring !!"- D.M. / Google / Feb 11, 2019
"Located the problem quickly. Explained in great detail my options and thoroughly answered my questions. I have been a patient of Dr. Heher's for 17 years. Always satisfied!"- M.C. / Google / Jan 12, 2019
"I’ve only had 2 visits to the practice but they wow’d me both times. I had the best dental exam I’ve ever had by Dr. Heher on my first visit and today I had my cleaning and it was also very thorough. I highly recommend this practice."- A.M. / Google / Oct 24, 2018
Tooth-colored fillings usually replace the decayed and/or discolored area of a tooth after it is treated by Dr. Heher. Composite resin is a versatile material that can be used to address other issues with your teeth including cracks or excessive wear on the enamel from teeth grinding (bruxism). Since the composite resin is shaded to match your natural teeth, composite fillings can be used on both the front and back teeth for a seamless finish. If you have metal fillings, talk to Dr. Heher if you want to have them removed and replaced with tooth-colored restorations.
What To Expect
Placement of a tooth-colored restoration at Smiles! Dentistry by Dr. Joseph Heher is usually a simple procedure. The area surrounding the cavity will be numbed with a local anesthetic to minimize discomfort. Because composite restorations are made from hydrophobic (water “hating”) resins, a rubber dam will then be placed to ensure dryness and predictability of results. About 95+% of restorations can be restored under a rubber dam; for those situations where a rubber dam is impossible to place, there are other non-metallic fillings that can be used that will provide similar results and longevity to composite. Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) sedation can be discussed if you have any fears or anxieties to help keep you relaxed during the procedure. After the infected enamel is cleared away and the tooth is cleaned, the area will be filled with the color-matched composite resin and cured or hardened with a special light. Dr. Heher will polish the filling material so it feels comfortable and matches your natural teeth.
You should be able to return to your normal day after your restoration is placed, but you might experience some sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures for about 1 – 3 days. While infrequent, if you do, you may take over-the-counter pain medication to treat discomfort. However, you should not experience any major issues. If after a few days the filling feels high or uneven, please contact our office. Your tooth-colored filling can be kept clean by following a normal home oral care routine with daily brushing and flossing. At your annual exam, Dr. Heher will assess your restoration and determine its status to ensure it is functioning well.
Tooth-colored fillings are a common treatment for cavities that are usually partially covered by dental insurance. A member of our team will contact your insurance company to determine your exact coverage before calculating your out-of-pocket expenses. If you do not have insurance, a staff member can discuss the payments methods accepted by our office during your consultation, including a medical financing option.
Even though they are abnormal, cavities are nothing more than “invasive infections”, and unfortunately for most adults and children, are frequent events in life. Often they are the result of inadequate oral hygiene (the old adage, “a clean tooth doesn’t decay” is still valid) combined with dietary “indiscretions”. But, it’s important to have the infection removed and restored before the decay causes even bigger issues. At Smiles! Dentistry by Dr. Joseph Heher in Salisbury, MD, tooth decay and cavities can be corrected with composite resin fillings. Dr. Heher matches the color of your natural teeth so you maintain a healthy attractive smile. If you suspect that you or a family member has a cavity, contact our office to schedule an consultation with Dr. Heher.