Cavities are a common oral health issue that is frequently associated with children. While children do tend to be more vulnerable, cavities can affect anyone, no matter what their age. When cavities develop, treatment is needed right away. Walker Dental Team can restore the health of teeth affected by cavities with fillings.
A cavity develops as a result of tooth decay. However, how does tooth decay happen? During the day, plaque and bacteria build up in your mouth. These substances are completely natural, but they can be harmful if they linger too long and continue to accumulate. Both plaque and bacteria produce harmful acids. When these acids sit on the surfaces of your teeth, they begin to erode or eat away at your protective tooth enamel. This leads to the formation of weak spots on your enamel. Over time, these weak spots can turn into small pits, called cavities. Without treatment, cavities can grow larger, as well as deeper, which puts the strength of the tooth at risk as well as your oral health.
Traditionally, cavities have been treated with amalgam fillings. Amalgam is a mixture of metals that are suspended in mercury. When this material is cured, it is incredibly strong and can withstand some of the strongest biting and chewing forces.
While strong, amalgam fillings do have a few disadvantages. One of the biggest drawbacks is the color of amalgam fillings. These fillings are silver, so they stand out very prominently from the rest of your natural tooth structure. This can cause aesthetic issues when used to treat cavities in your front teeth. The materials used for amalgam fillings also cause concerns for some patients. Some are allergic to metals while others are wary of the mercury content.
Placing an amalgam filling requires one visit, and the process takes about 30 minutes to complete. The procedure is done under a local anesthetic, which ensures that you do not feel any pain. The affected tooth is cleaned, and the decay is removed from the cavity. We then place the amalgam inside the tooth and smooth it before curing it.
Composite fillings were developed as an alternative to amalgam fillings. With this treatment, cavities are filled using composite resin. This is a material that is made up of fine glass, plastic, and other materials. While it is not as strong as amalgam, composite resin is tooth colored. The material blends in perfectly with the color of your natural teeth, providing an aesthetic as well as a functional fix for cavities in your front teeth. In addition to being tooth-colored, composite fillings are also free from metals and mercury. The material also bonds with your natural tooth structure, meaning that less of your tooth needs to be drilled to accommodate the filling.
Placing composite fillings require a single visit and approximately 30 minutes. Depending upon the size and location of the cavity, a local anesthetic may or may not be needed. The tooth is cleaned, and the decay is removed from the cavity. We then place an acid etch into the cavity to create a rough texture. The acid is washed off and your tooth dried. We then place the composite material into the cavity and cure it before finally polishing the filling smooth.
With a filling, we can help to restore the health of your tooth, preventing serious issues from developing. For more information, and to schedule your appointment, call Walker Dental Team today.