Cavities, which form as a result of tooth decay, are usually associated with children, who have a more difficult time keeping their mouths properly brushed. The truth is, however, that cavities can affect anyone of any age. At National Dental Hicksville, we can help to fix cavities with fillings.
How Cavities Form
Cavities form as a result of tooth decay. Your mouth is filled with oral bacteria, which feast on food particles in your mouth that linger after you eat, and reproduce at an incredible rate. As these bacteria eat, they produce acids. When you neglect your oral hygiene routine or consistently miss certain areas of your mouth, the bacteria build up, and the acids begin to eat away at your tooth enamel. Eventually, small pits form in your teeth, which can harbor bacteria, protecting them from your toothbrush and floss. Untreated, the cavities continue to grow. They can eventually reach into the dentin of your teeth, which can then lead to infections in your teeth.
Amalgam (Silver) Fillings
Amalgam fillings often called silver fillings, have been in use for over 150 years. They are well known for being durable, effective and long-lasting. Their strength is unparalleled, able to withstand strong pressure, which makes them popular for back teeth, where chewing forces are greater. They are made up of different metals (tin, copper, silver, nickel) suspended in liquid mercury. While these fillings are exceptionally strong, their color, which stands out against your natural teeth, and the fact that they contain mercury (even though the levels are safe for dental use) have many patients seeking an alternative.
Composite Resin (Tooth-Colored) Fillings
Composite resin fillings are a more recent alternative to traditional amalgam fillings. Composite resin is made up of plastic, fine glass and other materials, which create a tooth-colored material. This makes composite resin a popular aesthetic choice for fillings. The material does not contain any metals or mercury, but it is not as strong as amalgam. It performs well under normal bite pressures, making it more suitable for teeth at the front of your mouth.
Placing Your Fillings
The process for placing an amalgam filling is simple and can be completed in a single visit. We start with a local anesthetic. Next, we use our electric handpiece to clear away the decay and prepare the cavity for the liquid material. We then clean and dry the affected tooth and pack the material into the cavity. After the material is smoothed, we cure it, so that it hardens into a strong amalgam filling, protecting your tooth from further bacterial damage.
Composite resin fillings can be placed in one of two ways. The first method is similar to the method used for amalgam fillings. However, since the composite resin bonds to your enamel, less of your tooth structure needs to be drilled away. After the material is placed into the cavity, it is dried and then smoothed.
The second method for placing composite resin fillings is referred to as an indirect method. After your tooth is prepared, we take an impression of your mouth. This allows for the creation of your filling in our lab. Once ready, the filling is cemented into place.
If you have a cavity, a filling is necessary. Contact National Dental Hicksville today at (516) 629-5086 to schedule your appointment.