Cavities are an issue commonly associated with children. The truth is that they can affect anyone, regardless of age. A good oral hygiene routine, complete with regular brushing, flossing and dental visits for cleanings and exams, is essential for cavity prevention. However, even if you brush and floss daily, there are some areas of the mouth that are more difficult to access than others. This leads to a buildup of plaque and bacteria, and cavities eventually form. Treating cavities right away is essential for preventing serious issues. At A Smiling Heart Dentistry, we can treat your cavities with fillings.
Plaque and bacteria both occur naturally in the mouth. However, they can be harmful. They both produce harmful acids that can begin to eat away at the enamel of your teeth, causing tooth decay. Regular brushing and flossing help to eliminate buildup and neutralize these acids. If they are left on the teeth too long, tooth decay can lead to the formation of a small pit or cavity. Untreated, the cavity continues to grow larger as bacteria continue to damage the structure of the tooth. Not only can cavities weaken the structure of your tooth, but they can also grow into the inner layers of the tooth, leading to painful infection.
Amalgam fillings, also called silver fillings, are made up of a mixture of metals suspended in mercury. They have been in use for over 150 years, and are well known for their incredible strength. They can stand up to the hardest biting forces, which makes them ideal for cavities in the very back teeth. However, while these fillings are prized for their strength, they do have a few major drawbacks. One disadvantage is their color. Because they are silver, they stand out from the rest of your natural tooth. Depending on their location, they can be quite obvious. Many patients also have concerns regarding the metal and mercury content these fillings contain.
The process for placing an amalgam filling is fairly straightforward and can be completed in a single visit. A local anesthetic is used to numb the area to prevent discomfort. We then clean the decay from the cavity and drill into it to create the necessary space for the filling. We place the amalgam inside the cavity, smooth it, and cure it. Once it has hardened, it begins providing protection immediately.
Composite Resin Fillings
Composite resin fillings are made up of a mixture of fine glass, plastic, and other materials. They have been around for several decades, providing an alternative to amalgam fillings. Unlike amalgam, they match the color of your natural teeth, making them ideal for aesthetic purposes. Composite resin also contains no metal or mercury, so they provide an ideal solution for those with metal allergies or those with concerns about the ingredients in their fillings. However, while composite resin has become stronger over the years, it still cannot match the strength of amalgam.
The process for placing composite resin fillings is fairly similar to how amalgam fillings are placed. In some cases, no anesthetic is needed. This is because less drilling is required for these fillings. Instead of simply filling the space, composite resin bonds with the structure of the tooth. After the decay is removed, the filling material is placed inside of the cavity. It is then cured with a specialized light and polished to a smooth finish. Once we are done, you will not be able to tell the difference between the filling and the natural tooth.
Fillings help to stop the progression of tooth decay, protecting the health of your teeth and your mouth. If you suspect that you have a cavity, call A Smiling Heart Dentistry to schedule your consultation today at (425) 532-3200.