You brush and floss your teeth every day, an effort that helps to protect against oral health complications, including cavities. However, despite all of your efforts, there are certain areas of your teeth that can get missed, or that are just plain hard to reach. If these areas aren’t cleaned for a while, cavities can form, which can cause other dental complications. At National Dental Douglaston, we can treat your cavities and prevent more serious issues with fillings.
WHAT CAUSES CAVITIES IN THE FIRST PLACE?
Cavities form as a result of tooth decay. Bacteria that reside in your mouth feed on lingering food particles. As they eat, the bacteria produce acids, which eat away at the enamel of your teeth. By not properly removing them, the bacteria continue to multiply, and more and more acid is produced.
Eventually, the enamel on your teeth begins to decay. Small pits form in your teeth, creating hiding places for bacteria. The longer the issue goes untreated, the worse the cavities become. Eventually, the decay can enter into the inner layers of the teeth and cause a serious infection.
Amalgam fillings have been used for decades. They are made up of metals (tin, copper, nickel, and silver) that are suspended in mercury. Because of the materials used, they are often referred to as silver fillings and are known for their superior strength. It is their strength that makes them a popular choice for back teeth, which are subjected to stronger forces. Despite their strength, their color and the fact that they contain mercury often make them undesirable for patients. Many studies, though, have found the mercury content to be safe for use.
The process for amalgam fillings is fairly simple. If necessary, we administer a local anesthetic. We then use a drill to remove the decay and shape the cavity, making room for the material. The tooth is cleaned and dried. Finally, the amalgam is packed into the cavity, smoothed and dried.
COMPOSITE RESIN FILLINGS
Composite resin fillings are made up of a fine glass in a resin material. They have been around for a couple of decades, and the material is also used for dental bonding. While not as strong as amalgam, it can still stand up to normal biting and chewing forces. What makes composite resin fillings so popular, particularly for more visible teeth, is the fact that they match the color of your teeth.
Composite resin fillings can be placed in one of two ways, known as direct fillings and indirect fillings. Direct composite resin fillings are done similarly to amalgam fillings. After the tooth is prepared, the material is placed inside the cavity. It is then dried with a specialized light and polished smooth.
Indirect composite resin fillings are done a bit differently. After your tooth is prepared, we take an impression of it. This impression is used to create a custom fit filling in a lab. Once the filling is ready, it is cemented into place in the cavity.
Cavities can be found during your routine oral exams. However, if you suspect that you might have one, don’t hesitate. Call National Dental Douglaston at (718) 557-9882 to schedule your appointment right away!