Fillings and restoring teeth after a cavity develops is the most common dental restoration. We can restore and rebuild your teeth when damage occurs using a material that is strong, resistant to fracture and can be shaded to match your teeth. Known as composite fillings, this material is a blend of quartz and a strong resin. The material we use today is known for its durability and incredible ability to discreetly incorporate in your mouth. Following a dental exam, our team at Palo Alto Oral Health can help you have a healthier, beautiful smile.
At Palo Alto Oral Health, we understand that taking care of your teeth is essential to preventing bigger oral health issues. What starts out as a small amount of decay can lead to the need of much larger problems including root canal therapy, the need for a dental crown or even extraction. After a cavity forms, it needs to be treated, the sooner the better.
How Cavities Form
Tooth decay, or cavities, is the erosion of your tooth’s enamel. Bacteria in your mouth feeds on the sugars in plaque which naturally forms and settles on the rims of your teeth or in the nooks and crannies of your molars. As the bacteria feeds on the sugar, it produces harmful acids which eat away at the enamel of your teeth. Cavity prevention involves brushing, flossing, and regular dental cleanings and exams. Brushing twice a day helps remove plaque and keeps the amount of oral bacteria down, additionally, it helps to eliminate the acids on your teeth. Sometimes particles can get missed and cavities can form. Untreated, the bacteria will continue to erode the enamel, working toward destroying the tooth by weakening it. Eventually, the bacteria can extend to the inner layer of the tooth, infecting the pulp inside. For these reasons, treating cavities quickly, while they are small, is very important.
Composite Dental Fillings
For a long time, cavities were filled with a silver metal amalgam. It can still be found today and offers superior strength, however it comes with some major disadvantages. Many patients do not like its dark coloring or that contains mercury, which is safe for how it’s used but makes many patients uncomfortable. Additionally, amalgam does not adhere to enamel, so we have to reshape the tooth to hold it in place.
For most patients, we now fill cavities with composite dental filling material. The product we use today is stronger and more durable than what was used in the past. Composite is a mixture of quartz, plastic, other glass materials, and resin.
Placement of Composite Dental Fillings
Composite dental fillings are placed in one office visit. Depending on the preparatory work needing to be done, it may not even require a local anesthetic. We simply remove the decay or disease portion. The tooth is then cleaned and dried. We often apply an acid etch to roughen the enamel surface, this will strengthen adherence. The material is color matching, molded, sculpted and then hardened. With the composite filling in place and hardened, we can then polish it, helping it blend in and match your natural teeth.
Composite fillings are a great option that provide our patients with a number of benefits including:
If you suspect you have a cavity, don’t ignore it. Contact Palo Alto Oral Health to schedule your appointment today.