Brushing and flossing every day are essential for preventing cavities. While typically associated with children, cavities can happen to anyone, regardless of age. They occur as a result of tooth decay. At National Dental Oakland Gardens, we can put a stop to tooth decay and restore your teeth with fillings.
HOW CAVITIES FORM
Cavities form as a result of tooth decay. Throughout the day, as you eat, food particles collect in your mouth, getting stuck to the surfaces of your teeth, as well as between them. Your mouth is filled with oral bacteria that thrive on these food particles and reproduce very quickly. As they eat, they produce acids that are harmful to your enamel. Neglecting your oral care routine allows the number of oral bacteria to continue to grow, and gives the acids sufficient time to eat away at your enamel. Eventually, small pits, or cavities, form in your teeth. Bacteria turn these cavities into a comfortable home, continuing their damage. The longer cavities go untreated, the larger, and deeper the cavities can grow. They can eventually make their way to the inner layer of your teeth, causing serious infections.
Amalgam fillings have been used for over 150 years to restore cavities. They are made up of several metals (copper, tin, nickel, silver) that are suspended in liquid mercury. They are known for their superior strength and their effectiveness at protecting your teeth. It is their strength that makes them extremely popular for cavities in the molars found at the back of your mouth, as they can withstand very strong bite pressures.
Despite their strength, amalgam fillings do have a few drawbacks. For one, because of the color of the filling (silver), they are not aesthetically pleasing. They also may not be ideal for those with metal allergies.
PLACING AN AMALGAM FILLING
The process for placing amalgam fillings is relatively quick. We start by administering a local anesthetic. Your tooth is cleaned and dried. We then use our electric handpiece to drill the decay out from the affected tooth and shape the cavity for the filling. The amalgam material is packed into the tooth and then cured, hardening it.
COMPOSITE RESIN FILLINGS
Composite resin fillings are a more recent type of filling. The filling is made up of fine glass, plastic, and other materials, which form a tooth-colored restoration. They are not nearly as strong as amalgam fillings, but they are still a great option for cavities more toward the front of your mouth. As an added benefit, because they blend in with the color of your enamel, they won’t be noticeable. Composite resin is also preferable to those who are opposed to mercury, or who have metal allergies.
PLACING A COMPOSITE RESIN FILLING
There are two ways in which composite resin fillings are placed. The first way is similar to the way amalgam fillings are placed. However, because composite resin bonds with your tooth, less of the enamel needs to be removed. In some cases, a local anesthetic isn’t necessary. After the filling material is placed, it is cured, and then polished smooth.
The other way composite resin fillings can be placed is done through an indirect method. After the cavity is cleaned of decay, an impression of the tooth is taken. This impression is used to create a filling outside of your mouth. After it has been fabricated, it is cemented into place inside the cavity.
Fillings help to prevent cavities from growing worse and restore the health of your teeth. If you have a cavity, call National Dental Oakland Gardens today at (718) 407-0574.