Merrell Smiles of Monroe
Stephen Merrell, DMD, PLLC
Family Dentistry


Restorations in Monroe to Help Your Smile

When your smile faces damage, decay, or tooth loss, it can have a huge impact on your health and quality of life. Dr. Stephen Merrell and the team at Merrell Smiles of Monroe are here to help your smile with first-rate dental restorations. Whatever trouble your smile has, we can provide effective, personalized treatment to help you get back your oral health.

Enjoy your smile again! Contact us today to make your appointment!


Why Repairing or Replacing Teeth Matters

satisfied patient looking results of dental treatment at the mirror in dental clinic

Your smile is an integral part of your physical and emotional health. Problems with your smile can lead to digestion problems, chronic pain, headaches, and infection, just to name a few potential issues. Furthermore, if you feel uncomfortable or embarrassed by your teeth, it can affect the way you speak, smile, and interact with others.

Seeking services to keep your smile healthy comes with huge benefits now and for your future. Even a simple treatment like a filling can make a difference, and the sooner you seek treatment, the simpler and more effective your treatment will be.

Our office provides a wide range of restorations to help restore your smile, including:

Dental Fillings for Simple, Effective Restoration

dental filling vector illustration

When cavities strike, they compromise your tooth’s health, strength, and structure. Fillings are used to rebuild your tooth after decayed enamel is removed, allowing you to chew and smile normally. Dr. Merrell uses composite fillings, which are made of a composite resin that mirrors your natural tooth color.

How Long Do Fillings Last?

The lifetime of a filling depends on several factors, including the size of the filling, which tooth it’s in, and where it is on the tooth. How well you take care of it will also make a difference.

On average, a composite filling will last about ten years, and frequent improvements to the material means they could last even longer with proper care. These fillings bond well to teeth, so they can be smaller and create a tight seal that prevents further decay.

Why Choose Amalgam-Free Dentistry?

The main concern about amalgam fillings is their mercury content. While the amount of mercury is small, some people may be sensitive to its presence, which is why many people today are choosing amalgam-free crowns and fillings.

These alternative restorations offer several benefits on top of being mercury-free. They can be color-matched to your enamel, helping them to look natural within your smile. The fillings especially have added benefits, as they fit into smaller spaces and allow the dentist to preserve more of your natural enamel.

Can Dental Restorations Be Whitened?

African male patient getting dental treatment in dental clinic

Dental restorations are designed to match the color of your teeth, and may even be used to enhance the appearance of severely stained teeth. Restorations are stain-resistant, and with proper care, they should maintain their pearly white appearance and luster for years. However, it’s important to note that if these restorations get stained or discolored, they cannot be lightened using topical whitening solutions.

To ensure your restorations look flattering for as long as possible, we recommend considering a teeth whitening treatment before your new restorations are made to ensure they match your best smile.

How are Inlays and Onlays Differ from Fillings and Crowns?

These are common dental restoration procedures, and each one can be used to repair or replace damaged or decayed enamel. Dr. Merrell will help you to select the one that best suits your needs.

  • Fillings: These are the most common dental restorations. They’re recommended to treat small to mid-sized areas of decay. Fillings are applied directly to the tooth and are molded into shape, so you can easily get a filling in a single appointment.
  • Inlay: This is a method used if your cavity is too large for a simple filling. A dental lab fabricates the inlay as a single solid piece that covers the inner biting surface of the tooth, usually a molar.
  • Onlay: This is a dental restoration procedure that falls between an inlay and crown. It is designed as a single piece and covers the chewing surface as well as one or more cusp (points) of the tooth.
  • Crown: This type of restoration is for more serious tooth damage or decay. In this case, Dr. Merrell places a cap over your entire tooth after removing the decayed portion.

Dental Implants to Complete Your Smile

Replacing a missing tooth is critical for your oral health. Not only does the gap in your smile affect your appearance, but it also makes you susceptible to further tooth loss. A dental implant is surgically placed in the jawbone, where it acts as a tooth root to support various restorations. This may include crowns, bridges, and even full dentures.

What are the Benefits of Getting a Dental Implant?

  • Looks like a natural tooth
  • It is permanent and remains securely in place
  • Maintains the strength and health of your oral bone
  • Provides a stable and durable foundation
  • Keeps other teeth in good alignment
  • Replaces a missing tooth without using surrounding teeth for support
  • Requires similar dental care as your natural teeth
  • Can last you a lifetime

Who is a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?

Most adults are good candidates for dental implants, especially with recent advances in techniques and tools used for this treatment. The most important thing is having a strong jawbone to support the implant. Dr. Merrell will assess your smile thoroughly to determine if dental implants are a good fit for your smile.

senior man getting a dental implant consultation at dental clinic

You may be a good candidate for implants if you:

  • Are missing one or more teeth
  • Have a strong jawbone
  • Are in good health for surgery
  • Have a jaw that has stopped growing
  • Are looking for permanent tooth replacement
  • Are looking for an alternative to a dental bridge or dentures

Will I Need a Bone Graft?

A bone graft procedure is required when you have insufficient bone volume to receive a dental implant. Bone deficiencies or defects can be found in approximately 25% of patients with missing teeth. The more time has passed since a tooth was lost, the weaker the jawbone is likely to be.

Having adequate bone mass is critical for a solid implant for long-term success. Dr. Merrell examines your bone density through a comprehensive exam and will let you know if your bone needs strengthening with a bone graft.

The Benefits of Replacing Teeth

Dr. Merrell will do everything within his means to save your natural teeth. Though losing teeth is sometimes unavoidable, advancements in dental technology such as implants and dentures give you access to quality tooth replacements. Some of their benefits include:

1. Increasing Oral Function

A single missing tooth can compromise the quality of your bite. If you want to restore function and make it easier to bite and chew, consider restorative solutions such as a bridge or crown supported by a dental implant.

When you have a gap in your smile, the remaining teeth shift into that space. This can alter your bite, affecting your smile and functionality. Misaligned teeth can cause chronic pain and unconscious grinding of teeth, and they may eventually crack or even break.

Your gum tissue becomes exposed when your tooth or part of your tooth is missing. This makes you susceptible to gum disease, which is the leading cause of tooth loss. This can cause a domino effect where one missing tooth can lead to the loss of another. Restorative dental procedures will protect your sensitive gum tissue and preserve the natural balance in your mouth.

A full set of teeth supports your jaw and lips, which gives your face a more full and youthful appearance. The roots of your teeth also support your jawbone from the inside, which also preserves functionality. If you have a missing tooth, your body gradually cuts off blood supply to the area, causing both the gums and jaw to recede. A weakened jaw won’t properly support the remaining teeth. Restorations such as dental implants preserve this internal support and protect your jaw.

Missing and damaged teeth affect your speech and aesthetic. Many people with missing teeth are reluctant to engage socially, which can affect your mental and emotional health. Restoring your smile will give you the confidence to interact with others and enjoy life to the fullest.

Saving Teeth with Root Canal Therapy

If a dental infection has spread to the inner tooth, it could put your oral and overall health at risk and is likely also painful. Root canal therapy is designed to alleviate your pain and remove infection without resorting to tooth extraction.

Are Root Canal Treatments Painful?

happy female patient at dental office after getting a root canal

Contrary to its reputation, root canal therapy is actually no more painful than receiving a filling. The area of the mouth is numbed before treatment, and once the infection is removed, the source of your pain will also be gone. You may experience some soreness afterward, but this typically goes away within two or three days.

What if I Need an Extraction?

Sometimes an examination will reveal that an infected tooth is too damaged to save, or may need to be removed for another reason. Dr. Merrell has the training and experience to safely remove your tooth and preserve the rest of your smile. Once a tooth is extracted, he can help you select the best replacement option so that you can continue to enjoy a healthy, functional smile.

What is Full Mouth Restoration?

This involves the use of several dental procedures to repair various dental problems. A full-mouth restoration not only improves your appearance but also treats all existing oral problems. Some of the most common problems addressed include:

  • Chipped, cracked and broken teeth
  • Loss of tooth enamel
  • Decay and cavities
  • Missing teeth

How is a Full Mouth Restoration Performed?

Smiling senior woman checking out her new smile with a mirror at dental office

A full mouth restoration usually requires several appointments with our dentist. During the initial appointment, Dr. Merrell will assess your mouth to determine the procedures you will need to fix all your dental problems. He then provides you with recommendations and works with you to develop a customized plan for the best possible outcome.

With the plan in place, your teeth and gums are transformed in a series of appointments. A variety of dental procedures are performed depending on your specific dental needs and personal smile goals. Dr. Merrell looks for the most efficient and effective combination of treatments so that you get the greatest benefits from the fewest treatments.

Helping You in a Dental Emergency

Dental emergencies mainly arise due to injury to the mouth. This may include knocked-out teeth, fractures, and teeth loosened or forced out of position. Your lips, gums, and cheeks may also get injured. These injuries are painful and can put your oral health at risk, so quick treatment from our office is vital.

How Soon Should I Get Emergency Dental Care?

You should seek help for a dental emergency as soon as possible. Getting urgent dental care could make the difference between saving and losing a tooth.

What to do if a tooth is knocked out:

  • Call us immediately for an emergency dental appointment
  • Handle the tooth by the crown and not by the root. Touching the root section can damage cells necessary for re-attachment.
  • Gently rinse off any dirt with clean water, making sure not to scrub.
  • If possible, gently place the tooth back to its socket to keep it moist. The tooth should not be allowed to dry out. Biting on wet gauze or a tea bag can also be of great help.
  • If you can’t keep the tooth in your mouth, immerse it in a container with saliva or milk.

What to do if a tooth is cracked:

  • Contact us for an emergency visit
  • Rinse your mouth with clean, warm water
  • Use a cold compress against your cheek to control swelling
  • Use a pain killer such as Ibuprofen

Protecting Smiles Across Monroe

When your smile needs help, having a reliable dentist can make all the difference. At Merrell Smiles of Monroe, we’re committed to helping you achieve your best oral health through quality dental care in a welcoming modern dental practice. Schedule your appointment today to learn how we can help you enjoy years of great smiles!



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Office Location

  • Monroe
  • 1414 E Franklin St Monroe, NC
  • Monroe, North Carolina
  • 28112
  • Map & Directions
  • Call: (704) 289-5233