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Gentle Healthy Smiles

(Vandalia, MO/Pike County, MO) Dentist discusses fillings

While technology has changed through the years in dentistry, it’s been unfortunate that some methods have not changed with it.
A clear example involves many dentists still using a successful Civil War era method geared towards metal fillings in spite of industry advances in tools and materials.
For more than 150 years, G.V. Black’s standardized method of digging a wide and deep hole to make sure metal fillings don’t fall out of a patient’s mouth has worked.
Then came the 1980s and many dentists switched from using metal fillings to composite, tooth-colored fillings.
Though they changed the materials and had new tools available to them through the years, most dentists have continued using the same method.
Fortunately, many dentists like Dr. Cedric Papa, DDS, from Gentle Healthy Smiles, have been trained at dental schools teaching a less invasive approach with a focus on saving more of a patient’s tooth structure.
In using G.V. Black’s approach, a dentist has to dig a wide and deep hole in a patient’s tooth. Though this method was needed for metal fillings, doing the same approach for the composite, tooth-colored fillings can weaken the tooth and/or lead to cracking.
“Now in 2017, in this decade, there is absolutely no reason to be digging such large holes as composite material has improved so much that its success doesn’t depend on the size of the hole,” said Dr. Papa. “…Times have changed and technology has changed so much that it’s possible to use a much a smaller hole and fill it up with tooth-colored filling…I don’t allow my tooth-colored filling to be bound by some restrictions with big holes that encourage teeth to crack.”
Since only a much smaller hole is needed, what sets Dr. Papa apart from other dentists is that he uses a smaller instrument, as seen in the photo. This gives Dr. Papa the ability to use a minimally invasive approach to giving a patient a tooth-colored filling while protecting the patient’s tooth structure.
“My biggest goal is to preserve as much of the patient’s natural tooth structure as possible because this leads to less cracking and less dental work for the patient down the road,” Dr. Papa added.
If you haven’t loved going to the dentist, then it’s like time to try the minimally invasive approach being used currently at Gentle Healthy Smiles. The office has locations in both Vandalia and Mexico.
To set up an appointment, call 573-594-6166.