Cavities are an oral health issue that commonly affect children. However, children are not the only ones susceptible to cavities. They can affect anyone of any age. Brushing and flossing are essential steps for preventing cavity formation. But even those who brush and floss regularly can still miss parts of their mouth, leading to the buildup of plaque and bacteria. If you develop a cavity, getting treatment right away is critical. At Timothy H. Kindt, DDS, we can fix cavities with fillings.
How Cavities Form
Cavities are a result of tooth decay. Every day, plaque and oral bacteria build up in your mouth. Plaque is naturally acidic in nature. Bacteria, which thrive on the sugars that linger in your mouth, produce acids as they eat. When left on your teeth too long, the acids begin to eat away at your enamel. Eventually, small pits, or cavities, form. Brushing and flossing removes this buildup from your teeth. However, even those who are consistent in their oral care routine may miss spots, and can, therefore, develop cavities. Untreated cavities continue to grow larger as bacteria continue to destroy the structure of the affected tooth. Eventually, cavities can grow into the inner layer of the tooth, which can lead to infections and the spread of bacteria into the bloodstream.
Amalgam fillings, commonly referred to as silver fillings, have been in use for over 150 years. They are made up of a mixture of silver, tin, copper, and nickel, which is suspended in mercury. These fillings are exceptionally strong and can stand up to the strongest biting forces. This makes them ideal for teeth at the back of the mouth, where the biting pressure is naturally stronger. However, these fillings do have some downsides. One of the biggest downsides of amalgam is that they are silver in color, and therefore not ideal for cavities in visible teeth. The mercury content in these fillings also raises some concerns for many patients.
The process for placing amalgam fillings is relatively simple and can be completed in just one visit. We start by cleaning the teeth. Next, a local anesthetic is placed. The decay is drilled away from the cavity. The amalgam is packed into the tooth, smoothed, and then dried. When dried, its protection begins immediately.
Composite Resin/Tooth Colored Fillings
Composite resin fillings are a more recent development. They are a composite resin, made up of plastic, fine glass, and other materials. One of the greatest advantages of composite fillings is that they perfectly blend in with the color of your natural enamel, which makes them perfect for cavities in the front teeth. They also contain no metal or mercury. However, composite resin is not as strong as amalgam, and may not do as well in back teeth.
Composite Resin Placement
Composite resin fillings can be placed in one of two ways. The first way is similar to how amalgam fillings are placed. After a local anesthetic, the decay is removed from the cavity. Depending upon your circumstances, you may not even need an anesthetic. Because of the nature of the composite resin, and how it works with the tooth, less of the structure of your tooth needs to be drilled away. The material is placed in the tooth, dried, and polished.
The other method for composite resin placement is known as an indirect filling. With this type of filling, two appointments are required. During the first appointment, the decay is removed, and an impression is made. This impression is then sent to a lab, where your filling will be created. A temporary filling is placed in the meantime. Once the filling is ready, which can often take about two weeks, you return for a second visit. We check the filling for fit and color and cement it into place.
Prompt treatment for cavities prevents serious issues from occurring while restoring the health of the affected tooth. If you suspect that you have a cavity, contact Timothy H. Kindt DDS at (480) 939-5818 to schedule your consultation today.