repair cavities with natural-looking composite fillings
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), cavities are very common. In fact, over 90 percent of adults have been diagnosed with at least one cavity. In other words, most people develop a cavity at some point in life.
what is a cavity?
Cavities form when bacteria infect and eat tooth structure. When we consume starches, including sugars, and acids our tooth enamel temporarily softens and bacteria invade. First, bacteria eat through tooth enamel, then sensitive dentin, then into the core of a tooth, where the nerve is housed. To keep cavities from growing, early detection and treatment are important.
Good oral care with daily flossing and twice-daily brushing will remove most bacterial plaque and food particles from your mouth. While good oral hygiene can deter tooth decay, a thorough examination by your dentist can detect it. The ADA recommends that healthy children and adults visit the dentist every six months for a checkup.
how we treat cavities
If detected, tooth decay requires restorative treatment that only a dentist can provide. There is no home treatment, and if you leave a cavity untreated, it will grow.
If you need a filling, one of our dentists will remove the decayed tissue, sanitize the cavity, and fill it with composite resin. This will restore health and comfortable function to your tooth.
Traditionally, dentists used silver amalgam fillings, also known as metal fillings, for cavity restoration. However, at Metropolitan Dental Care, we believe that composite, tooth-colored resin is the healthiest most esthetic material, so we do not use amalgam.
In some cases, tooth decay is too severe for a filling to adequately treat the affected tooth. The dentist will recommend either a crown or root canal therapy in these situations.
what is a composite resin filling?
Made from a mixture of glass and quartz, composite fillings look like tooth enamel. Before application, the liquid resin will be tinted to blend with the shade of the enamel on your affected tooth. A curing light will harden the resin, and the dentist will polish it. Before treatment is complete, the dentist will also check your bite to make sure upper and lower teeth fit together well where the filling was placed.
Composite resin can be applied as a veneer over teeth with enamel erosion an/or dental stains that don’t respond to chemical whitening. For other cosmetic applications, composite resin can reshape teeth, fill gaps, or repair a chipped tooth.
treatment generally requires four simple steps:
- Step 1 – Comfort:
The dentist will administer a local anesthetic to numb the affected area.
- Step 2 – Tooth Preparation:
The dentist will then remove the dead tissue and bacterial infection. Next, he will thoroughly disinfect the tooth to create a sterilized environment. If necessary, the dentist will shape the tooth.
- Step 3 – Composite Application:
Once the tooth is thoroughly cleaned and dried, the dentist will mix the composite resin. Next, he will tint the resin to match the affected tooth’s enamel. The dentist will then apply the resin into the prepared cavity. As he layers the material, he will use a curing light to harden the resin.
- Step 4 – Tooth Polishing:
Finally, he will trim away excess material, check your bite for proper occlusion, and polish the tooth.
benefits of composite fillings
Compared to metal fillings, composite fillings offer numerous benefits. While most patients prefer them for their natural look, resin fillings do more than look good.
They are better for health than amalgam fillings. Made of a combination of metals and minerals, amalgam contains mercury. This heavy metal is hazardous to health. Although many people argue the mercury content is minimal enough not to pose health risks, people with sensitivities, pregnant women, and the elderly are warned to avoid amalgam fillings by the FDA. Our philosophy is, why would we use amalgam when a totally safe material is available?
We can help you preserve your natural teeth and good oral health. Contact our Denver, CO, dental office today. You can reach us online or call (303) 534-2626 to schedule your examination.