When you have a cavity, it is smart to have it filled before the decay gets bigger. Cavities are caused by the bacteria in your mouth that turn sugar into acid. The acid starts to demineralize a spot in the enamel of your teeth until a hole appears. This hole is a cavity and it needs to be treated with a filling before it gets worse. When you have a small cavity, bacteria will get into the place where you can’t reach to clean it and will produce even more acid inside the cavity. What happens next? The decay can grow very fast and infect the pulp (nerve) of the tooth, giving you a toothache and requiring a root canal procedure to save the tooth.
You can actually heal, or remineralize, these areas of initial acid wear on your tooth structure before they break by diligently removing the bacteria from your teeth with daily flossing and twice daily brushing, and limit the frequency of sugar and other carbohydrates you eat throughout the day. Remember that beverages have hidden sugars as well. Water is the best drink for frequently thirsty situations.
To treat a cavity your dentist will remove the decayed portion of the tooth and then ‘fill’ the tooth where the decayed material was removed. Dental fillings are also used to repair cracked or broken teeth that have been eroded over time by teeth grinding.
Tooth fillings act to close off spaces (cavities) where harmful bacteria can enter, and prevent further decay that often leads to costlier root canal treatments.
Types of tooth fillings
Composite Fillings can be expertly matched to the color of the surrounding teeth, providing you a natural aesthetic result. Composite resin, a mixture of plastic and glass, is bonded directly into the cavity and hardened with a special light. Composites are also used for cosmetic improvements of the smile by changing the color of the teeth or reshaping disfigured teeth., and is also sometimes referred to as bonding. Many fillings that use bonded composite resins will typically last over 10 years. They are a safe, attractive and affordable solution for a number of dental problems. the tooth. The advantage of porcelain crowns is that they can be matched to the color of the surrounding teeth, and are resistant to staining. The material is also very durable, similar to that of gold and amalgam fillings. The cost is similar to a gold filling.
Porcelain Fillings are bonded directly to the tooth. Porcelain is very durable and can be matched to the color of the surrounding teeth, and are resistant to staining. Porcelain is usually recommended when a large part of the tooth needs to be replaced with inlays, onlays or crowns.
Gold fillings are actually gold inlays, and can be done when a large part of the tooth needs to be replaced with inlays, onlays or crowns.
Amalgam (silver) fillings are resistant to wear, but they usually require excessive removal of tooth structure to place them. Large amalgams leave weakened enamel that can be susceptible to fracture. Dental amalgam is a mixture of mercury, silver, tin and copper. Mercury, which makes up about 50 percent of the compound, is used to bind the metals together and to provide a strong, hard, durable filling. After years of research, mercury has been found to be the only element that will bind these metals together in such a way that can be easily manipulated into a tooth cavity. Although amalgam might be the best choice in certain situations, our office has alternatives to amalgam that are conservative, durable, beautifully natural looking, and are and mercury-free.
The tooth filling procedure
Your dentist will first use a local anesthetic to numb the area. Next, the decayed tooth structure removed. Once the decay has been removed, the dentist will prepare the space for the filling by cleaning the cavity of bacteria and debris, and then placing the filling material. After the filling is put in place, the tooth will be custom-fitted to your bite and polished.
Fillings that use bonded composite resins will typically last over 10 years. They are a safe, attractive and affordable solution for a number of dental problems.
How do I know if I need a filling?
Sometimes, people mistakenly think that they don’t have cavities if the tooth doesn’t hurt. The truth is that many people have cavities that they don’t know about until the decay gets large enough to infect the pulp (the nerve) and require a root canal. Taking care of small to medium-sized cavities with fillings prevents painful toothaches and more costly treatment in the future. Your dentist will examine your teeth for decay and recommend fillings as needed. Dental x-rays will also be consulted to find cavities between your teeth that are not visible to the eye alone.
Chipped or Broken Tooth Fillings
The enamel that coats the outer surface of your teeth is the hardest tissue in the human body. However, it has weaknesses. Getting a strong blow to the face or biting down on something hard can cause a chipped or broken tooth, especially if the tooth already has decay. There are a number of quick and simple procedures for chipped or broken teeth. One of the most effective treatments is a dental filling or bonding.
If you have chipped off a small piece of the tooth enamel, your dentist will be able to quickly fix the tooth with a filling. As mentioned above, if the chipped or broken tooth is one of your front teeth, your dentist will opt to bond the filling using a composite resin to ensure the filling maintains the same color and aesthetic of the surrounding teeth. Bonding is simple, and rarely requires any form of numbing agent. After shaping and bonding the resin to the tooth, your dentist will use an ultraviolet light to harden the material. Finally, excess resin will be removed and the tooth polished.
If a large piece of tooth has broken away, or been lost to decay, your dentist will likely elect to file away the decayed tooth place a crown over the damaged tooth.
If you believe you may have a cavity that needs to be filled, or have recently chipped or broken a tooth, consult with one of our dentists today (208.322.5655)!